Psych Crime Reporter

September 15, 2012

Pharma notes psychiatrist Martin Keller’s authorship of fraudulent study but Brown University declines to take action

Filed under: conflicts of interest,psychiatric drug side effects,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 12:45 pm
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The University will not take action against former Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Martin Keller, despite acknowledgment by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline that Keller co-authored a fraudulent study advocating adolescent use of the antidepressant Paxil.

In a record-breaking $3 billion settlement this July, GSK pleaded guilty to selling the misbranded prescription drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. According to the plea agreement, GSK’s promotion of Paxil was largely based on Keller’s “false and misleading” article, published in 2001 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Since the article’s publication, the ethics of the study—commonly referred to as Study 329—have been scrutinized in a book, a BBC documentary and a Senate Finance Committee investigation. Critics have said the study inappropriately characterized the drug’s effectiveness while downplaying the risk of adolescent suicide associated with Paxil—a significantly larger number of patients treated with Paxil had “a possibly suicidal event” than patients treated with a placebo did, according to the government complaint against GSK. The complaint also claimed that Keller’s article was ghostwritten by GSK representatives.

Following allegations of research misconduct, the University conducted an internal investigation into Keller’s article but has never publicly discussed its findings, citing confidentiality. “The fact that Professor Keller has continued to be chair and continued research and continued to get grants speaks for itself,” then-Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 told The Herald in 2009.

“The University has fully reviewed this issue, and there is nothing that emerged from the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice regarding (Keller’s) research that would prompt any further reviews of the paper by the University,” wrote Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences, in an email to The Herald.

Keller, who stepped down as chair of the psychiatry department in 2009 but stayed on as a professor, announced his retirement earlier this year and stepped down in July. Pending approval from the National Institutes of Health, the University will transfer his grants to multiple investigators, Wing wrote, calling this a “standard practice” at Brown. Keller did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The government’s charges against GSK came under the interstate commerce clause. According to a government official speaking anonymously, the government cannot charge the individual researchers who co-authored the study because the research was not funded by federal dollars, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported last month.

When Study 329 was initially conducted, researchers found that Paxil did not perform better than placebos on the measures the researchers had outlined beforehand. In internal documents, GSK called the results of the study “commercially unacceptable,” according to the government complaint. After viewing the results, the company introduced additional measures on which Paxil performed better than the placebo.

Paxil would soon become one of the 10 most prescribed drugs in the country, according to the plea agreement. As part of its promotion of Paxil, GSK would regularly invite physicians to conferences in resort locations, providing fine dining and expensive forms of entertainment, according to the government complaint.

Keller acknowledged in 2006 that over the years, he had received tens of thousands of dollars from GSK and its affiliates.

In recent years, groups such as the Project on Government Oversight have written to the University requesting that action be taken against Keller.

The global nonprofit Healthy Skepticism wrote to administrators last year, requesting the University’s help in an effort to have the article retracted. Wing responded that the University would not support a retraction, adding that the University takes allegations about faculty research very seriously.

Healthy Skepticism plans to write the University again this year, in the hopes that a new president might be more inclined to support its efforts, said Jon Jureidini, a professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia who co-authored last year’s letters.

Source: Sahil Luthra, “U. forgoes action against prof after study fraud,” The Brown Daily Herald, September 14, 2012.

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February 17, 2011

Official report seeks to shut down psychiatric “house of horrors” in Mumbai

The 110-year-old Masina Hospital – which boasts of one of the city’s foremost psychiatry wards – has been slammed by the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) for rampant violations of the Mental Health Act of 1987.

The hospital has been asked to put its act together or face a shutdown.

A report filed by the five-member committee, appointed by DHS, states that the hospital has been illegally detaining patients in its psychiatry ward and forcefully administering psychotropic drugs to the detainees.

The head of the psychiatry ward, Dr. Yusuf Matcheswala, however is of the opinion that these are only “minor drawbacks,” which do not warrant a shutdown or similar punitive measures.

The matter came to light after Kemp’s Corner resident Pushpa Tolani filed a complaint with the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission (MHRC) claiming that her friend Neela Shete was detained in the hospital illegally.

Tolani in her complaint pointed out that many other patients like Shete were detained without a reception order from the district magistrate – a mandate under the Mental Health Act.

Shete, 55, a resident of Altamount Road was admitted in July. She was discharged two months later. “The doctors’ claim that she had schizophrenia may or may not be true. However, they cannot detain any adult for such a long time without a reception order,” said Tolani, adding that Shete has been untraceable since her discharge. “They have similarly detained many patients without their consent and in all possibility, they are administering drugs which may be worsening their condition,” she alleged.

Dr. Matcheswala however rubbished these claims saying, “Shete was my patient for the last three years. Her admission for two months was also voluntary and we had not detained her illegally.” He added that he has not heard from Shete since September.

Meanwhile, the MHRC refused to take Tolani’s allegations lightly and directed the DHS to file a detailed report after an investigation. “After surveying the hospital and cross checking all the allegations we learnt that about 20 more patients were detained illegally at the hospital.

They were administered treatment which has been banned, and their relatives were overcharged. Often the patients are being drugged even when it was not required,” said Dr. Sanjay Kumavat, who is heading the DHS committee.

The committee including Kumavat, advocate Chaya Haldankar, clinical psychologist Dr. Vinayak Mahajan and psychiatrist Dr. Geeta Joshi personally met these patients.

While Dr. Matcheswala said that he was aware of the enquiry, and vowed to “rectify” the “shortcomings” once the report from DHS was made available to him, Dr. Kumawat and the investigating committee were in no mood to for any leniency.

Psychiatrist Dr Yusuf Matcheswala

“If the hospital fails to straighten up in the stipulated time, their licence will be revoked and the mental health facility will be shut down. The matter is also under the purview of human rights commission. If they are found guilty of violation of the act, as per IPC they can face imprisonment up to five years and cancellation of licence,” said Kumavat.

“Ours is the only psychiatric ward in the city. We cannot close down because of such minor drawbacks,” said a belligerent Dr. Matcheswala.

What’s ailing Masina hospital

♦ Detaining patients without consent: “Ideally a patient can come voluntarily or following a court order. However, patients here were brought in a van at relatives’ request. There are cases of relatives sending patients away due to vested interest,” said Kumavat, and consent taken later.

♦ Unqualified staff, inadequate facilities: The report says the hospital has few psychiatric nurses and other professionals. Despite a 40-bed licence, some 100 patients are kept without permission.

♦ Forcing unnecessary therapies, including shock therapy: Patients are administered treatment banned long ago.  Shock treatment is often used despite use of tranquillisers. One patient is given 35 sessions of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, which is unnecessary.  “As patients are unaware, the hospital administers almost all non required treatment and makes money for itself and pharma firms, by extending their stay,” said Dr Vinayak Mahajan, committee member. “We have prescriptions of unwanted medicines,” he said.

♦ Patients seldom rehabilitated: Hardly any patients are being rehabilitated. The hospital only concentrates on active psychiatric cases. They are not maintaining patient records and case papers.

Source: Sobiya Moghul and Jyoti Shelar, “City’s foremost mental hospital uses banned therapies, detains patients illegally,” Ahmedabad Mirror, January 4, 2011.

November 18, 2010

Psychiatrist Jonathan D. Sommers charged by license board for excessive prescribing

On October 7, 2010, the Medical Board of California issued an Accusation against psychiatrist Jonathan David Sommers, seeking to suspend, revoke or otherwise discipline his license.

According to the Board’s document, it opened and investigation of Sommers based on information received from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, where Sommers was employed.

A review of his treatment of patients and prescribing practices was undertaken.  The investigation detected departures from the standard of care relative to five patients.

In general, the accusations center around prescribing psychiatric drugs to elderly patients at excessively high doses as well as numerous departures in the standard of care in the treatment of a 17-year-old suicidal patient.

Source: Accusation in the Matter of the Accusation Against Jonathan David Sommers, M.D., license no. G41535, Case No. 12-2008-193482, Medical Board of California.

October 29, 2010

Anna Nicole’s psychiatrist convicted by jury on four felony drug conspiracy charges

A boyfriend and two doctors who were part of Anna Nicole Smith’s inner circle in her final days and were charged with enabling her prescription drug use were acquitted of most drug charges Thursday, but two were convicted of conspiring to use false names to get her prescriptions.

Howard K. Stern, Smith’s boyfriend-lawyer, and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, her psychiatrist, were convicted of conspiring to get the former Playboy model and reality TV star painkillers and sedatives.

Prosecutors contended during the nine-week trial that the defendants were dazzled by Smith’s glamor and filled her demands for prescription drugs to protect their insider status in her personal life and her celebrity world.

Defense attorneys countered by portraying the defendants as angels of mercy who were trying to help Smith cope with her chronic pain, particularly after she gave birth to her daughter by cesarean then quickly lost her 20-year-old son, Daniel, to a drug overdose.

Smith eventually died of an accidental drug overdose in Florida in 2007, but the defendants were not charged in her death at age 39.

The jury convicted Stern of conspiring with Eroshevich to obtain drugs through the use of a false name and misrepresentation. Eroshevich also was found guilty of using a false name and misrepresentation to obtain prescriptions for the painkiller Vicodin for Smith.

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, the physician who prescribed most of her pain medications, was acquitted of all charges in a verdict he called a triumph for the medical profession.

“This is not just a victory for me, but for patients everywhere who suffer chronic pain,” an emotional Kapoor said outside court.

His lawyer Ellyn Garofalo said it also was a victory for Smith.

“The jury found she was not an addict,” Garofalo said.

Stern originally faced 11 counts of conspiracy, excessive prescribing of opiates and sedatives to an addict, and fraudulently obtaining drugs by using false names but was convicted of only two conspiracy counts. The judge previously dismissed two charges against him.

As he left the courthouse, Stern told reporters, “Everything relating to the appropriateness of the medication, I was acquitted of.”

His lawyer, Steve Sadow, said Stern never denied using his name on Smith’s prescriptions but maintained Stern didn’t know it was illegal.

Stern, 41, had been Smith’s lawyer, manager, lover and friend since they met in 2001. Testimony showed they were inseparable, even when she was involved with other men.

In 2006, Smith donned a wedding gown, and she and Stern had a commitment ceremony on a catamaran off the Bahamas. They exchanged rings and vows but were never legally married.

At one point, Stern claimed he was the father of Smith’s baby daughter until DNA tests made clear the father was photographer Larry Birkhead, who now has custody of the child.

“Prosecutors contended during the nine-week trial that the defendants were dazzled by Smith’s glamor and filled her demands for prescription drugs to protect their insider status in her personal life and her celebrity world.”

Sadow contended during the trial that Smith was the love of Stern’s life and he would never harm her. He also stressed that Stern was not a doctor and was relying on medical professionals to do the right thing for Smith.

Kapoor and Eroshevich also were close to Smith during her final years.

Eroshevich, 63, was Smith’s neighbor and friend before treating her as a psychiatrist. Prosecutors claimed the friendship was a violation of professional ethics and called a pharmacist who testified the amount of drugs Eroshevich requested for Smith at one point would have amounted to pharmaceutical suicide.

The pharmacist refused to fill the request, and prosecutors showed Eroshevich used other pharmacies to get most of the drugs and took them to Smith in the Bahamas.

Along with conspiracy, Eroshevich was convicted of unlawfully obtaining Vicodin by fraud. The jury deadlocked on whether she unlawfully prescribed the drug.

“I feel relieved,” Eroshevich said. “I’m just happy it’s over.”

Her attorney, Brad Brunon, said he would likely move for a new trial and might ask to have the charges against her reduced to misdemeanors.

Stern and Eroshevich remained free pending a Jan. 6 hearing when the defense can file a motion for a new trial.

If the motion is denied, the judge can sentence both defendants, but it was not immediately clear how much prison time, if any, they could face.

Kapoor, 42, who was Smith’s internist, wrote numerous prescriptions for opiates and sedatives during the period he treated her. His lawyer said he followed a drug regimen originated by Smith’s previous doctor who sold his practice to Kapoor.

Prosecutors Renee Rose and David Barkhurst argued that Kapoor blurred the line between patient and doctor when he was photographed kissing her at a party. They also pointed to a diary in which Kapoor discussed the “mesmerizing” experience of riding with her in a gay pride parade and wondered: “Can she ruin me?”

The jury of six women and six men spent nine weeks hearing details of Smith’s troubled life and 58 hours deliberating their verdicts.

Dave Kettel, a former federal prosecutor who handled prescription drug cases and was in court for the verdicts, said the outcome might make authorities reluctant to file similar cases.

Prosecutors who handled the case said they would have no comment because the defendants still had to be sentenced.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said in a written statement he was pleased there were some guilty verdicts.

“This case illustrates the problem of the overuse of prescription medicine in today’s society,” said Cooley, a candidate for state attorney general. “Medical professionals have a responsibility to ensure that the strict ethical guidelines of their profession are followed in prescribing medicine as part of the care of their patients.”

Citizens Commission on Human Rights prepared an excellent report on this subject (which Eroshevich probably should have read a long time ago): When Prescribing Psychotropic Drugs Becomes Criminal Negligence

Source: “Psychiatrist, lawyer convicted in Smith drug case,” Associated Press, October 28, 2010.

August 24, 2010

Psychiatrist Jack Gray lost medical licenses in Florida and Tennessee; still licensed in Oklahoma?

Filed under: chronic pain,psychiatric drug side effects,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:14 am
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On August 16, 2010, the Tennessee Department of Health revoked the medical license of psychiatrist Jack K. Gray, Jr. Tennessee’s action against Gray was based on Gray’s voluntarily relinquishment of his license to practice medicine in the State of Florida.

The reasons for the Florida action are as follows:

From 1997 through August 27, 2004, Gray provided treatment to a 55-year-old male patient with a history of chronic back pain and depression due to a work-related accident from 1987 which resulted in four crushed vertebrae. The patient was then treated with Prozac and later started on Oxycontin to manage his low back pain.

Gray’s medical records do not contain a record of an initial evaluation or examination or any notes that would indicate a reason why Gray chose the treatment plan that he did. Treatment started monthly until 2002 and moved to every three to four months.

Gray prescribed various psychotropic medications including the antidepressant medications Effexor and Prozac, as well as a benzodiazepine Valium for management of spasms associated with his painful condition. Gray provided prescriptions for Soma, as well as Ambien, a sleep-inducing medication.

The core of the treatment and the only medication taken throughout the entire course was the opiod agonist oxycodone in the long-acting form of Oxycontin. The patient was escalated from an initial 80 mg twice daily to 480 twice daily for several years until his death. The patient also received an antipsychotic medication, Seroquel, given to him for the purpose of treating insomnia as well as “agitation.”

The patient was not asked to sign a controlled substance agreement authorizing Gray to be the only treating physician prescribing antidepressant and pain medications. There was no documentation of urine toxicology screens, pill counts, or pharmacy surveillance having been performed. Gray postdated several prescriptions for schedule II medications, those with a high potential for abuse and severe psychological and physical dependence.

The patient last saw Gray on August 27, 2004 and a follow-up appointment was scheduled for January 7, 2005, however the patient died on October 16, 2004. The coroner found excessively high levels of oxycodone in the patient.

Among other things, Gray failed to:

Prepare any documentation following physical examination of the patient, including instances when the patient reported worsening or other change in the severity of his condition.

Set reasonably frequent follow-up visits given the treatment included the use of opiods. (The patient weighed 120 pounds and was taking over 900 mg of Oxycodone daily. A prudent physician would have considered seeing such a patient at a minimum of every other month.)

Assess the presence of aberrant drug behavior and opiod therapy-related side effects as expected of a prudent physician.

Sufficiently document the process of obtaining informed consent from the patient covering the risk of treatment with controlled substances.

In summary, the Florida Board found that Gray failed to practice medicine with the level of care, skill and treatment of the patient as recognized by a reasonably prudent physician.

The website of the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision shows that, despite the loss of his Florida and Tennessee licenses, Gray still has an active license in Oklahoma.

Source: Entry on Jack K. Gray in Disciplinary Action Report, Tennessee Department of Health, July 2010, pg. 2 and Final Order, Department of Health, Petitioner vs. Jack K. Gray, Jr., M.D., Respondent, DOH case no. 2004-37880, license no. ME0057877.

Content used with permission of Citizens Commission on Human Rights Psychcrime.org website.

June 15, 2010

States permanently restrict psychiatrist Peter Campbell from prescribing controlled substances

On October 14, 2009, the Maryland Board of Physicians publicly reprimanded psychiatrist Peter L. Campbell and permanently restricted him from prescribing Schedule II, III and IV Controlled Dangerous Substances.  This was a reciprocal action based on a disciplinary action issued by the Virginia Medical Board for  Campbell’s failure of the standard of care relative to 11 patients.

The Virginia Board’s May 22, 2009 Order states, among other things, that Campbell “failed to consistently obtain a complete patient history prior to prescribing controlled substances; prescribed narcotics and benzodiazepines [tranquilizers] to patients without performing any physical examination, evaluation or assessment…[and] without diagnosing a medical condition justifying such prescriptions, ordering diagnostic tests to determine the etiology of the patient’s pain or documenting his reasons for selecting the…medications prescribed; prescribed controlled substances to patients who exhibited drug-seeking behavior or who he knew or should have known were abusing or had become addicted to…their medications and repeatedly authorized early refills…without any medical indication other than information provided…by the patients themselves (i.e. medications reported by patients as lost, stolen, disappeared, left in Hawaii, vomited up, destroyed by fire etc. and other non-verified explanations provided by patients.)”

He was similarly reprimanded and had his practice restricted in the states of Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Jersey.

Source: Consent Order In Re: Peter L. Campbell, M.D., License No. 0101-029943, Before the Board of Medicine (Virginia), May 22, 2009 and Consent Order in the Matter of the License of Peter L. Campbell, M.D., License No. MA85460, New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners, October 15, 2009, as posted on the Citizens Commission on Human Rights’ (CCHR) http://www.psychcrime.org website.

June 9, 2010

Psychiatrist John T. Nasse surrenders license on negligent prescribing charges; patient died of overdose

On May 5, 2010, psychiatrist John T. Nasse surrendered his license to the Medical Board of California, waiving his right to a hearing or other defense.  This action is in response to charges including gross negligence and repeated acts of negligence leveled at Nasse by the Board in January 2010.  Specifically, the document states that, among other things, Nasse:

  1. Prescribed the narcotic painkiller hydrocodone to a patient 48 times in 30 months in 100 tablet increments—far in excess of appropriate dosage levels;
  2. Failed to consult with the patient’s pain management to ensure that the patient was not receiving duplicate prescriptions;
  3. Failed to refer the patient to a neurologist or pain management specialist;
  4. Prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant to another patient but did  not monitor tricyclic blood levels or conduct a drug screen to determine what other drugs the patient was taking.  The patient died of a drug overdose on a combination of drugs all prescribed by Nasse;
  5. Prescribed a benzodiazepine to a Board investigator who presented as a patient, without conducing an appropriate examination or evaluation;
  6. Prescribed benzodiazepines 19 times in a one-year period to a patient with a history of alcohol abuse—far in excess of appropriate dosage levels.

Source: Stipulated Surrender of Certificate and Order, In the Matter of the Accusation Against John T. Nasse, Jr., M.D., Physician’s and Surgeon’s Certificate No. C29053, Case No. 05-2007-181416, Medical Board of California, filed January 28, 2010.

April 6, 2010

District Attorney will ask medical board to re-open investigation of Rebecca Riley’s psychiatrist

Rebecca Riley was only four years old when she was found dead of an overdose of clonidine, a blood pressure drug commonly used in children diagnosed as having “bipolar disorder” and “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”

Kayoko Kifuji, of Tufts Medical Center, is the child psychiatrist that prescribed clonidine and the psychiatric drugs Depakote (an anti-seizure drug) and Seroquel (an antipsychotic) for Riley and her two older siblings.

Following Riley’s death, Kifuji entered into a voluntary agreement with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine to halt her practice.  She was investigated by a grand jury that declined to indict her.  The Board also completed its inquiry.  Kifuji was allowed to return to practice last fall.

Riley’s parents were both charged with murder in Rebecca’s death.  Both testified they had only followed doctor’s orders in administering the drugs to Rebecca.  Both were recently found guilty in separate trials.

Kifuji was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony in both trials.

The psychiatrist’s testimony regarding her treatment beliefs and practices has generated reactions ranging from shock and confusion to outrage directed at what is perceived as Kifuji’s role in Riley’s death.

Because the testimonies offered at the grand jury and medical board hearings were kept secret, the Riley trials provided the public the first details of Kifuji’s management of the Riley children.  Some of the facts from the transcripts include:

Kifuji diagnosed at least two of the Riley children, while toddlers, with mental disorders after only a one-hour consultation, did not order appropriate blood work while they were on potent pills and seemingly ignored input from preschool teachers and other clinicians who said the children seemed weak and overmedicated.

Kifuji believed testimony from the children as young as three regarding “hallucinations” about monsters to support the bipolar diagnosis while discounting any other information reported by the children as “unreliable.”

Kifuji repeatedly allowed, without drawing any effective limits, Carolyn Riley to increase the doses of clonidine she gave her children.  For her last month of life, Kifuji overall prescribed 835 pills to Rebecca.

Rebecca at age three, gained nine pounds in two months on Zyprexa, the first antipsychotic drug she was prescribed by Kifuji.

Kifuji waited 15 months into treatment before recommending counseling/psychotherapy for Rebecca.  There is no mention of ever recommending any parenting or family therapy for the parents.

Kifuji continues to insist her diagnosis was
correct even when it was pointed out that the children’s symptoms literally disappeared overnight when the mother was out of the home for four days and the father was left in charge of the children.

Based on these revelations, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said he plans to ask the Board of Registration in Medicine to reopen its investigation of Kifuji, who he has said turned a blind eye to the numerous signs that the parents were troubled and reckless in dispensing drugs.

“Dr. Kifuji is unfit to have a medical license,” he said.  “If what Dr. Kifuji did in this case is the acceptable standard of care for children in Massachusetts, then there is something very wrong in this state.”

Cruz said he plans to assemble the transcripts of her testimony, among other things, to present to the licensing board.  According to Cruz, that information shows not only that Kifuji operates on the controversial idea that toddlers can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but that she was negligent in her assessment and follow-up with patient.

Source: Patricia Wen, “Father guilty in girl’s fatal drugging,” Boston Globe, March 27, 2010; Lawrence Diller, “Wholesale sedation of young children: Medically, morally indefensible,” Patriot Ledger, March 27, 2010 and Lane Lambert, “Rebecca Riley’s doctor now the target of a grand jury,” Patriot Ledger, May 1, 2009.

March 30, 2010

Psychiatrist Peter C. Gleason sentenced for federal crime, reprimanded in California on patient recordkeeping violations

On March 26, 2010, the Medical Board of California reprimanded psychiatrist Peter C. Gleason for unprofessional conduct.

According to Board’s document, this reprimand was the result of “discipline, restriction, or limitation imposed by another state.”

Specifically, in July 2008, Gleason was reprimanded by the Maryland State Board of Physicians, which found that Gleason “regularly and over a long period of time, prescribed medications for a patient without noting either their side-effects or the patient responses to the medications.  He kept scant notes of his treatment of the patient, and his records failed to reflect the dosage, strength or frequency of the powerful medications he prescribed.”

The Maryland Board concluded that [Gleason] “has lost touch with the importance of maintaining adequate medical documentation.”  In addition to the reprimand, the Maryland Board placed his license on probation for a minimum of six months, and required him to successfully complete comprehensive courses in medical records and in psychopharmacology for child and adolescent patients.

Gleason was additionally convicted in August 2008 in New York for the federal misdemeanor of “misbranding” a drug, in that he “did knowingly and intentionally introduce into interstate commerce…Xyrem (a central nervous system drug approved to treat narcolepsy and daytime sleepiness), that was misbranded within the meaning of 21 U.S.C. § 352 (f), in that [he] was marketing Xyrem for medical indications that were not approved by the FDA when [he]…well knew and believed, Xyrem’s labeling lack adequate directions for such uses and adequate warnings against such uses where such uses could be dangerous to the user’s health.”

Gleason was paid by the drug’s maker to appear at speaking engagements to promote the drug for the treatment of chronic fatigue, weight loss and insomnia—indications for which it is not FDA-approved.  He was sentenced February 22, 2010 to one year of probation.

Source: Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order in the Matter of the Accusation Against Peter Charles Gleason, M.D., Physician and Surgeon Certificate No. G87635, Case No. 16-2008-192888, Medical Board of California, March 26, 2010; Superceding Misdemeanor Information, United States of America against Peter Gleason, Case No. 1:06-cr-00229-ENV, United States District Court Eastern District of New York, filed August 8, 2008; Final Decision and Order in the Matter of Peter D. Gleason (sic), M.D., License No. D24640, Before the Maryland State Board of Physicians, Case Number 2005-0922
and Judgment in a Criminal Case, United States of America v. Peter Gleason, Case Number 06cr229(s-2)-01 (ENV), USM Number 74054-053, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, filed February 23, 2010.

March 22, 2010

Kansas psychiatrist Ethan Bickelhaupt pleads guilty to controlled substance charges

On February 22, 2010, Kansas psychiatrist Ethan Bickelhaupt pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully distributing controlled substances and one count of unlawfully obtaining controlled substances.

Prosecutors say he issued prescriptions in 2006 to people who were not his patients.  Those people would then return the drugs to Bickelhaupt for his personal use.

On December 14, 2007 the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts indefinitely suspended  Bickelhaupt’s license.  Kansas State Board documents state, “The Board has received reports that (Bickelhaupt) issued prescriptions for Adderall and Klonopin in the names of two high school students and then paid the students cash to pick up the prescriptions from at least two different pharmacies.  The students then gave (him) the prescriptions” and “There is reasonable suspicion that (Bickelhaupt) has the inability to practice the healing arts with reasonable skill and safety to patients…”

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21st.

Source: “Former psychiatrist pleads guilty in drug case,” Wichita Eagle, February 22, 2010 and Final Order In the Matter of Ethan Bickelhaupt, M.D., Kansas License No. 04-18225, Docket No. 08-HA00040, Board of Healing Arts of the State of Kansas, filed December 14, 2007.

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