St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A 61-year-old Town and Country doctor pleaded guilty Thursday after being indicted along with two California residents on charges of distributing and receiving misbranded prescription drugs, including the cancer treatment drugs Neupogen, Herceptin and Rituxan.
The defendant, Dr. Abid Nisar, worked as a licensed medical doctor specializing in the treatment of cancer patients, with offices in Florissant, Granite City and East St. Louis. As part of chemotherapy treatment for his patients, Nisar purchased large quantities of assorted prescription drugs from a business associated with co-defendants James Newcomb and Sandra Behe. Nisar would then sell those drugs and apply for reimbursement through the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Those prescription drugs were not the FDA-approved U.S. version of the drugs, but cheap knockoffs. The drugs came from an unregistered establishment in Switzerland that did not provide the FDA with a list of pills they manufactured. They were distributed by another company in New Delhi, India.
According to his plea agreement, Nisar admitted to receiving a fax from Behe and Newcomb in January 2010, advertising prescription cancer treatment drugs at 14 to 60 percent off their average wholesale price in the United States. Nisar purchased approximately $352,504 worth of cancer treatment drugs from unlicensed foreign distributors between February 2010 and December 2010.
Nisar pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of misbranding drugs.
Behe, a 44-year-old resident of La Jolla, California, was indicted on one felony count of introducing adulterated prescription drugs into interstate commerce. Newcomb, also a 51-year-old resident of La Jolla, California, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to cause the introduction of adulterated prescription drugs into interstate commerce.
Dr. Abid Nisar is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25.
The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years and/or fines up to $250,000. The other two counts carry maximum sentences between one and three years in prison and/or fines between $100,000 and $250,000.