Indictment: St. Louis County Doctor Imported Unapproved Drugs

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Federal investigators have accused a St. Louis County physician of taking part in a scheme to import chemotherapy drugs from countries such as Turkey and Sierra Leone in violation of the law. The drugs were not approved for use in the U.S., according to a recently unsealed indictment against the doctor and two California residents, potentially putting patients at risk. The doctor has pleaded guilty to the one count against him in the indictment.

According to the indictment, the doctor spent $352,504 to purchase 47 shipments of chemotherapy drugs from the California defendants from February through December of 2010. The drugs were manufactured in several foreign countries and had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the U.S., prosecutors allege.

There were also problems with the way the drugs were labeled and shipped. The packaging for the medicines had labels written in languages other than English that did not contain dosing or potency information.

Authorities also cited an incident where a shipment arrived to the California defendants’ location with its cold pack ruptured. Rather than using a thermometer to track the shipment’s temperature while it was being transported to the St. Louis County doctor, the seller delivered it as is instead of risking “eating a whole bunch of product” if it could be shown the proper temperature had not been maintained.

The physician, who is certified in hematology, internal medicine and neoplastic diseases in Missouri, pleaded guilty to introducing misbranded prescription drugs into interstate commerce on Feb. 16, about a month after the indictment was handed down on Jan. 12.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “St. Louis-area doctor bought misbranded and unapproved chemo drugs, feds say,” Robert Patrick, Feb. 16, 2012

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