A Kentucky cancer clinic pleaded guilty to charges of knowingly receiving and distributing non-FDA approved foreign source cancer drugs. The Hematology and Oncology Center in Somerset, Kentucky pleaded guilty to knowingly receiving a misbranded cancer drug, and is facing up to five years of probation and a maximum fine of $200,000. The center’s former office manager, Natarajan Murugesan, is facing up to a year behind bars and a maximum fine of $100,000 for aiding and abetting the sale of the misbranded drugs.
The clinic has already paid $2 million to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act by submitting for Medicare reimbursement based on misbranded and unapproved cancer drugs. One of the clinic’s owners, Dr. N. Mullai, was involved with the civil settlement but was not charged with any crime. According to the Courier-Journal, the clinic and Murugesan admitted to purchasing “substantial amounts” of various chemotherapy and cancer treatment medications from a foreign distributor between January 2010 and July 2011. The drug packaging didn’t have labeling, the dosage information was in foreign languages, and the drugs themselves were manufactured in India, Turkey and other countries.
This kind of behavior is deplorable, as it puts patients at risk. In situations like this, patients and taxpayers can benefit from someone with knowledge of fraud coming forward and exposing the wrongdoing. Whistleblowers not only help save taxpayers money by reporting fraud, they may also receive a percentage of any money returned to the government. If you have any knowledge of health care fraud, get in touch with an experienced whistleblower attorney to help you through the process.