Former New York Hospital AIDS Educator Sentenced for Forging AIDS Drug Prescriptions, Selling on Black Market
A former AIDS education coordinator at New York's Montefiore Medical Center yesterday was sentenced to up to five years in prison for forging prescriptions for an AIDS drug and then selling it on the black market, the AP/New York Post reports. State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said that an Albany County judge sentenced Enrique Rojas to between one year and eight months to five years in state prison and fined him $1.7 million in restitution. Rojas pled guilty to the crime in July 2002. Over a nine-month period, Rojas faxed hundreds of forged prescriptions for the drug Serostim -- which is used to treat AIDS-related wasting -- to out-of-state pharmacies, which filled the prescriptions "believ[ing they] were legitimate." The pharmacies subsequently sent the drugs to the addresses Rojas had provided and billed Medicaid, which reimburses $6,300 for a one-month supply of the medication (AP/New York Post, 3/25). Prosecutors estimate that a month's supply of Serostim, which is used illegally by body builders and other athletes "who want to increase their muscle mass," could be sold for $3,200 on the black market (EFE News, 3/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.