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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 4, 2015

Palm Harbor Oncologist Indicted For Buying Unapproved Cancer Medications From Foreign Sources And Defrauding Medicare

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of a twenty-one count indictment charging Dr. Anda Norbergs (59, Palm Harbor) with nine counts of receiving misbranded drugs in interstate commerce and twelve counts of health care fraud. If convicted, she faces up to three years in federal prison for each count of receiving misbranded drugs and up to ten years on each count of health care fraud. The indictment also notifies Dr. Norbergs that the United States is seeking a money judgment of at least $700,000, which is alleged to be proceeds of the offense.

According to the indictment, Dr. Norbergs, a licensed physician in Florida, was the head doctor, owner, and operator of East Lake Oncology (“ELO”), a cancer treatment clinic located in Palm Harbor. Beginning in at least June 2009, she ordered, and directed others at ELO to order, drugs from foreign distributors, including Quality Specialty Products (“QSP”). The drugs sold to ELO by QSP and the other foreign distributors included drugs from foreign establishments that had not been registered with or approved by the FDA. Many of the drugs were shipped directly to ELO from a location outside the United States, usually the United Kingdom or Canada. The packaging and documents shipped with the drugs showed that they were manufactured and packaged for distribution in foreign countries.

Unbeknownst to patients, these misbranded drugs were then administered at ELO. After administering these drugs to patients, ELO submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare and other private health care benefit programs. In submitting those claims, Dr. Norbergs falsely represented that the FDA-approved versions of the drugs had been administered, when she knew that unapproved and misbranded versions of those drugs had been given to patients. In so doing, Dr. Norbergs generated profits from the difference between the Medicare reimbursement rates for the FDA-approved drugs and the discounted prices of the misbranded versions of those drugs purchased from foreign distributors.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Jackson.

Patients and/or family members of patients treated by Dr. Norbergs and East Lake Oncology who may have questions or concerns regarding medical treatment received should contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General for more information. A dedicated email account has been established. Please contact the case agents at: Dr.Norbergs.patients@oig.hhs.gov.

Topic: 
Healthcare Fraud
Updated September 11, 2015