In the greater Tampa area a cancer specialist has been found guilty on 17 charges of Receipt of Counterfeit Drugs; 12 charges of Illegal Drug Smuggling; 10 counts of Healthcare Fraud and 5 charges of International Mail Fraud.
Federal investigators discovered that patients at East Lake Oncology in Palm Harbor had no idea that for 6 years Doctor Diana Anda Norbergs and her medical staff, were pushing illegal, misbranded drugs into their veins, including counterfeit chemotherapy drugs, that were never approved in the United States.
Prosecutors were able to prove that Norbergs routinely billed the federal Medicare insurance program, as well as numerous private insurance providers, for the cheaper, unapproved medications, and charge for the approved, more expensive drugs. She would then lie to patients, convincing them they were receiving FDA-approved drugs, when they were actually being smuggled into the U.S. from Germany, India and Turkey.
In fact, as far back as 2009, Norbergs was ordering unapproved drugs from foreign, unlicensed distributors. The drugs she ordered were cheaper versions of legitimate cancer meds from overseas, and were often mislabeled. At least one distributor – Quality Specialty Products – was known to have sold cancer meds that were missing vital ingredients, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
This dangerous physician did not care, because patient safety was not nearly as important to her as amassing wealth. She continued to order the questionable meds, and in fact purchased $700,000 worth of misbranded, unapproved drugs in a single month in 2011 alone.
Norbergs was arrested in June, 2015. When she is sentenced in February, she faces a jaw-dropping 500 years in prison.
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