ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A doctor has been ordered to serve a year in prison after he injected patients suffering from osteoarthritis pain with cheaper foreign medication before charging health care programs for the expensive, federally approved, version.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations said Dr. Abdul Naushad has been sentenced to serve a year in prison after a judge found him guilty of the health care fraud scheme. He and his wife will also have to repay $235,977.
The Naushads betrayed the trust of elderly and impoverished patients to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a $2 million mansion, two vacation houses and four luxury carsAssistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman
In the scheme, the FDA said Dr. Naushad injected unwitting patients on more than 1,000 occasions with a cheaper, foreign medicine that has not been approved by the FDA. The couple then deceived federal health care programs into reimbursing them for a more expensive medication than was used.
The medication the patients recieved is sold by authorized distributors in the United States, comes in a pre-filled syringe. It is injected into the knee to relieve osteoarthritis pain and is available only by prescription.
“Injectable unapproved medical devices that are smuggled from unknown foreign sources and come from outside the secure supply chain can present a serious health risk to patients who receive them,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead with the Kansas City Field Office of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. “Not only are the device components completely unknown, the conditions under which they are manufactured and held are outside the regulatory scrutiny of the legitimate supply chain.”
To hide their actions, the FDA said they stonewalled questions from their chief of purchasing. One of the shipments was seized by the FDA, so they had the next shipment sent to their home.
The FDA said the doctor’s wife, Wajiha Naushad, lied to her compliance officer and friend by telling her the injections came from a distributor in the U.S., and fraudulently persuaded the compliance officer that the medication had a required National Drug Code number.
“The Naushads went to significant lengths to conceal their repeated use of and billing for a medication that they did not actually provide to patients,” said Curt L. Muller with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General
A jury in April convicted the couple of one conspiracy count and one count of health care fraud. Wajiha was sentenced Thursday to three years of probation.