Scranton Doctor Accepted $140,000 Bribe For Fentanyl Prescriptions 

Photo Taken by Angel Salazar

By Adam Capotorto

Scranton physician Kurt Moran, aged 70, was sentenced to 11 years and 8 months imprisonment for health care fraud and the distribution of controlled substances.

SCRANTON, PA | According to the United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Moran previously pleaded guilty to crimes related to the unlawful distribution of a controlled substance (Subsys), maintaining drug-involved premises, and health care fraud. As part of his plea agreement, Moran also agreed that he knowingly and intentionally distributed Schedule II controlled substances, oxycodone, and fentanyl, outside of medical practice – these substances resulted in the death of one of Moran’s patients.

Moran admitted that he conspired with others to receive bribes to prescribe Subsys (sublingual fentanyl spray) to patients. Subsys is a transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl (TIRF) drug. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only for use in cancer patients suffering from breakthrough cancer pain. Moran stated that he was paid $140,000 to prescribe patients the spray with no association to cancer by the pharmaceutical company, Insys Therapeutics. The payment was labeled as “honoraria” for conducting educational presentations on Subsys to disguise the bribe. Millions of micrograms of sublingual fentanyl were wrongly prescribed to Moran’s patients.

Moran surrendered his DEA registration on September 18, 2020. His license to practice medicine in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was suspended on October 7, 2020.

Moran forfeited his illegal $140,000 bribe, his medical license, contents of his bank account totaling $12,570, and an additional $5,430 seized from Moran in January 2018 as ordered by Judge Mariani. Additionally, Moran will serve 3 years of supervised release after his sentence..

Restitution in the amount of $6,586.00 related to funeral expenses was also ordered for the patient that lost their life to the controlled substances.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) located in Scranton, the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Olshefski and Michael Consiglio prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of a district-wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin and other opioids. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin and opioid traffickers operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit opioid trafficking offenses.