Hematology and Oncology Center, a business in Somerset, and its former office manager pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to charges of knowingly receiving a misbranded cancer treatment drug and administering it for payment.
Natarajan Murugesan admitted to aiding and abetting in the introduction of an unapproved oncology drug into interstate commerce, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
The charges, misdemeanors, stem from a 2014 civil settlement in which the center, Murugesan and the center's doctor, N. Mullai, agreed to pay $2 million, plus interest, to resolve allegations that they submitted false claims to the Medicare program for misbranded and unapproved chemotherapy drugs administered through the clinic.
Between January 2010 and July 2011, Hematology and Oncology Center bought drugs from a foreign distributor in Canada under the name Quality Specialty Products. Murugesan was responsible for ordering the drugs. Mullai administered them to her patients, and the clinic submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare, which typically does not cover misbranded drugs or drugs unapproved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The clinic and Murugesan are scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 3. The clinic faces up to five years of probation and a maximum fine of $200,000. Murugesan faces up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.