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Prolific N.H. Opioid Prescriber Found Guilty in Kickback Scheme

Brian Wallstin/NHPR

A federal jury on Tuesday found a former physician assistant guilty of participating in a kickback scheme involving fentanyl.

Christopher Clough of Dover was convicted of overprescribing the painkiller to patients in exchange for receiving compensation from the drug’s manufacturer.

During 2013 and 2014, he wrote more than 750 prescriptions for a fentanyl spray approved to treat cancer-related pain. In exchange, he received more than $49,000 from the manufacturer, according to prosecutors. Medicare was billed more than $2.1 million for the prescriptions, some of which were given to patients who failed to exhibit sufficient symptoms for the powerful narcotic.

Clough was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, and seven counts related to a kickback scheme.

In 2015, the N.H. Board of Medicine banned Clough from prescribing opioids, citing his reckless prescribing habits. In the ruling, an expert said the 44-year old showed no “pharmacological or other skill whatsoever.”

At the time, publicly available data showed Clough was one of the state’s most prolific prescribers of pain medication.

He will be sentenced in March, when he’s facing up to 40 years in prison.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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