Five doctors, a nurse and an administrator with The Plastic Surgery Group of Albany were sentenced to probation, community service and ordered to pay hefty fines and restitution for using an unapproved, cheaper product on their patients.
Instead of using the Federal Drug Administration-approved Botox and Botox Cosmetic, the doctors began exclusively using a non-FDA approved TRI-toxin on their patients seeking treatments for facial wrinkles.
A total of 150 patients, who were not told of the substitution, were injected with this cheaper, unapproved product between February 2004 and December 2004, according to court papers and a statement Tuesday from the U.S. Attorney, Northern District of New York.
The plastic surgery group itself was also fined $200,000 and ordered to pay $106,686 in restitution in connection with the group’s guilty plea to one felony count of misbranding drugs in federal district court in Albany.
The doctors, administrator and nurse had each pleaded guilty this summer to one misdemeanor count of misbranding drugs. The charges followed an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, the Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office.
The doctors sentenced Tuesday include: Dr. William F. DeLuca Jr., 58, of Latham; Dr. Steven Lynch, 65, of Slingerlands; Dr. Douglas M. Hargrave, 58, of Delmar; Dr. Jeffrey L. Rockmore, 42, of Delmar; and Dr. John D. Noonan, 62, of Slingerlands, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Albany.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said that the doctors were sentenced “to community service, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $106,686, and a fine of $5,000.”
The plastic surgery group’s administrator, Peter M. Slattery, 48, of West Sand Lake, and supervisory nurse, Susan F. Knott, 49, of Latham, were also sentenced and ordered to pay restitution, as well as pay fines in the amount of $1,000 and $500, respectively.
The case, according to court filings, started in January 2004, when DeLuca, a partner in the group, received a flier from Toxin Research International of Arizona advertising their TRI-toxin as a substitute for Botox.
The court papers indicated that DeLuca gave the flier to Knott and told her to order the TRI-toxin, according to a Aug. 12, 2009, story in the Daily Gazette.
The supervising nurse then ordered at least 31 vials through November 2004. She, according to court filings, also instructed the nurses how to administer the drug. Prosecutors in the case did not say what finally prompted the group to stop using the cheaper drug.