Town and County Doctor Sentenced For Cancer Drug Scam

Local cancer doctor sentenced and ordered to pay more than $1 million for purchasing misbranded cancer treatment drugs, according to prosecutors.

Abid Nisar of Town and Country was sentenced to 2 years probation and 200 hours of community service, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office Friday.

In a news release, prosecutors stated that Nisar will also pay $1,000,336 in restitution to Medicare in connection to false claims for payment to the Medicare.

As previously reported by Patch,  

Prosecutors announced Nasir's sentence Friday in the following news release.

Dr. Abid  Nisar of Town and Country, MO was sentenced to 2 years probation and 200 hours of community service after previously pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of receiving misbranded prescription drugs, including the cancer treatment drugs marketed in the United States as Neupogen®, Herceptin®, and Rituxan®.  The Court also imposed a criminal fine of $25,000.  

This week Dr. Nisar also entered into a civil settlement agreement and agreed to pay $1,000,336 to resolve allegations that he submitted false claims for payment to the Medicare, TRICARE, Illinois Medicaid, and MO HealthNet (formerly known as Medicaid) programs for assorted misbranded cancer treatment drugs.  In the agreement, Dr. Nisar also agreed to be excluded from future participation in federal health care programs for seven years.    

According to his plea agreement, Dr. Nisar is a licensed medical doctor specializing in the treatment of cancer patients, with offices in Florissant, Missouri, East St. Louis and Granite City, Ilionois.  Many of Dr. Nisar’s prescription drugs were not the U.S. version of these drugs that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved for use in the United States, and their labeling did not contain National Drug Codes and other legally required information from the U.S. labeling for these drugs.  Some of the drugs contained foreign language labeling, for example  Turkish language instructions.  Further, these prescription drugs did not come from manufacturing plants that were registered with or inspected by FDA.  As such, these prescription drugs were “misbranded” and illegal to receive or provide to patients in the United States. Dr. Nisar prescribed and dispensed these prescription drugs to his patients, and then sought reimbursement for the drugs from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. 

Dr. Nisar began regularly purchasing these cheaper prescription drugs from businesses associated with co-defendants James Newcomb and Sandra Behe during February through December of 2010 and provided the drugs to his patients without informing them of their source.  After Dr. Nisar provided the drugs to his patients, Nisar submitted claims for reimbursement to various health care benefit programs, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs, without informing the programs of the source of the drugs.  Dr. Nisar received reimbursement from the health care programs and also collected co-payments from beneficiaries for the drugs.  Ultimately, Dr. Nisar purchased approximately $352,504 worth of prescription drugs from unlicensed foreign distributors.  The civil settlement agreement resolves Dr. Nisar’s civil liability from his submission of claims for payment from the Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare programs for these unapproved drugs.  

Dr. Nisar’s medical license was previously suspended in Illinois after Dr. Nisar’s plea of guilty in this case was accepted by the Court.

Special Agent in Charge Gerald T. Roy of the Kansas City Regional Office of Investigations for the Department of Health and Human Services stated "These investigations and their outcomes not only protect the tax payer from waste, fraud and abuse but, more importantly insure our Beneficiaries are not provided misbranded or adulterated drugs that may adversely impact their health.  We will continue to aggressively pursue those who seek to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs by administering non- FDA approved products and services."

Co-defendant Sandra L. Behe, 44, La Jolla, CA, previously pled guilty to one felony count of introducing adulterated prescription drugs into interstate commerce; and James R. Newcomb, 51, also of La Jolla, CA, also pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to cause the introduction of adulterated prescription drugs into interstate commerce.  Newcomb and Behe are scheduled to be sentenced on June 22, 2012 and July 6, 2012, respectively.

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