Dominican doctor faces widening scandal
West Palm Beach.- Prominent Dominican Dr. Salomon Melgen, implicated in a corruption scandal involving Sen. Robert Menendez is facing lawsuits that he injected tainted medicine into patients’ eyes, “permanently damaging their vision,” Florida- based CourthouseNews.com (CN) reports Tuesday.
It said at least seven putative patients have filed lawsuits against Melgen in Palm Beach County, claiming they suffered severe eye infections after receiving injections of bacteria-laden medicine at Melgen’s South Florida offices.
“The lawsuits allege the bacterial contamination stemmed from Melgen’s profit-driven decision to repackage single-use vials of ocular drugs, primarily the macular degeneration drug Lucentis,” the outlet said.
the complaints, CN reports, say that Melgen ordered the repackaging of Lucentis vials into multiple doses, “in disregard for manufacturer guidelines, and in defiance of the Centers for Disease Control’s warnings to the medical community that compounding the drug could cause it to become tainted with bacteria prior to injection.”
Melgen and his medical group, Vitreo-Retinal Consultants, carried out the Lucentis repackaging “for no purpose other than increasing their profits,” according to Richard Doyle, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who represents the majority of the plaintiffs.
“The plaintiffs developed the infections while Melgen was treating them between the fall of 2013 and early 2014, the lawsuits allege.”
CN notes that in April 2015, Melgen and Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, were indicted on charges of conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud in connection with Melgen’s alleged profiteering off Lucentis. Melgen was slapped with more than 40 counts of healthcare fraud in a separate indictment.
It said federal prosecutors claim Melgen was bringing in “exorbitant and improper” revenue by milking multiple doses from single-use vials of Lucentis and then billing Medicare for each instance where he administered the drug.
“Melgen and Vitreo-Retinal Consultants billed Medicare $190 million and received more than $105 million in payments, much of which was obtained through fraudulent invoicing,” prosecutors say.
The outlet adds that Melgen is also accused of falsely diagnosing patients with wet macular degeneration, so that he could administer his high-priced Lucentis treatments to them.
May 31, 2016
Category: DR News |