Physician and Wife Pay $428,000 to Settle False Claims Act Allegations for Billing Government Programs for Unapproved Drugs
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey announced today that Dr. Donald Chamberlain and Karen Chamberlain have paid $428,700, to resolve state and federal False Claims Act allegations. It is alleged that from January 7, 2009 through May 2, 2012, their medical practice billed Medicare, Tennessee Medicaid (TennCare), and the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) for foreign-sourced anticancer drugs not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing in the United States. Dr. Chamberlain owned and operated Chattanooga Gyn-Oncology, P.C., located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Mrs. Chamberlain managed Dr. Chamberlain’s medical practice since the time of its inception.
The United States alleged that the unapproved drugs the Chamberlains provided to patients and billed to Medicare, TennCare, and FEHBP were not reimbursable under those programs. The United States further alleged that the Chamberlains purchased unapproved drugs because they were less expensive than the drugs approved by FDA for marketing in the United States. Thus, the Chamberlains allegedly profited by administering the cheaper unapproved drugs.
“Administering oncology drugs manufactured in other countries and not approved by the FDA, risks the safety of our citizens,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey. “We will continue to pursue aggressively, medical providers who improperly put their own financial interests ahead of the safety of their patients and who ignore rules instituted to protect the taxpayer funded healthcare system.”
This investigation was a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Knoxville Division of the FBI, and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Dykes.
The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.