GREAT FALLS – A former Indian Health Services doctor who worked in Browning today admitted charges of conflict of interest for using his job to prescribe a diabetes drug from a pharmacy in exchange for kickbacks, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Dr. Arnold Scott Devous, 68, of Billings, pleaded guilty to federal medical officer with conflict of interest. Devous faces a maximum five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Devous was released. Sentencing was set for Dec. 10.
In court documents filed in the case, the prosecution said that Devous, who was a medical officer for the IHS in Browning and in charge of its diabetes program, used his position to prescribe Farxiga, a Type 2 diabetes medication. Farxiga was not on the IHS formulary and could not be obtained at the facility. From December 2015 until June 2016, Devous solicited multiple pharmacies in Montana to fill expensive prescriptions of Farxiga in exchange for Devous receiving a “cut” of the profits and kickbacks. Government personnel are prohibited from engaging in these types of relationships.
Ultimately, a pharmacy agreed to Devous’ terms and the amount of money paid to the doctor totaled $45,540 in approximately six months. Devous first hid the kickbacks by sending the money to his wife, and then he used a prospective business associate. Neither of these options was allowable under the law. When interviewed, Devous admitted that his wife received the money, which was illegal. Devous also admitted he never informed his superiors of the outside income as required by law.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Weldon is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.