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Indian-American doctor indicted in anti-kickback case

An Indian-origin gynaecologist in the US state of Massachusetts has been arrested for allegedly accepting favours from a pharmaceutical firm in return for prescribing its drugs and allowing sales-representatives to access the records of patients.

Rita Luthra, 64, of Longmeadow, was indicted for taking free meals and speaking fees and prescribing an osteoporosis drug made by Warner Chilcott in return. The company allegedly paid Luthra more than US $23,000 to prescribe two of its drugs at her Springfield offices from October 2010 through November 2011.

The indictment has many instances where a representative from the company paid for meals for Luthra and her staff. It includes one count of wrongful disclosure of individually-identifiable health information and one count of obstructing a criminal healthcare investigation by lying to federal agents and directing an employee to do the same.

She could face a maximum of five years in prison and a US $25,000 fine. It was alleged that Luthra’s prescriptions of Warner Chilcott’s osteoporosis drugs increased during the time that she was paid by the company, and precipitously declined once she stopped being paid. Luthra also allowed a company representative to access protected health information in her patients’ medical file.