Oncologist Pleads Guilty to Prescription Drug Fraud

M. Alexander Otto, PA, MMS

June 02, 2023

A board-certified New Jersey oncologist has pled guilty to using her medical license to purchase cancer medications under the false pretense that they would be used to treat her own patients, according to a May 31 press release from the US Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.

Instead, the drug purchases were part of a fraudulent profit-making scheme.

Anise Kachadourian, MD, of Towaco, New Jersey — located about 20 miles from Manhattan — now faces a maximum of 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Her sentencing is scheduled for February 6, 2024.

Overall, "Kachadourian was paid more than $170,000 for purchasing and allowing others to purchase in her name millions of dollars in prescription drugs during the scheme, which ran from October 2016 through January 2019," the US Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey said in a press release.

The scheme involved Kachadourian and others making "numerous false and misleading representations to the pharmaceutical manufacturers and authorized distributors, including that Kachadourian purchased the drugs to use to treat her patients, and that the drugs would not be resold or redistributed," the office said.

However, none of the drugs were administered to any of Kachadourian's patients.

The press release explained that while working in her medical practice's offices in various parts of New Jersey, Kachadourian was recruited by an individual who owned a pharmacy as well as owned two wholesale prescription drug distributors.

At this individual's request and at the request of others who worked for him, Kachadourian used her medical license and allowed others to use it to purchase expensive drugs. The drugs primarily included cold-chain biologic infusion medications, such as trastuzumab and rituximab, often use to treat cancer, macular degeneration, and autoimmune diseases.

In return, Kachadourian received a kickback of approximately $5000 per month.

"By recruiting and using Kachadourian and her medical license to purchase the drugs, these individuals were able to obtain prescription drugs from the pharmaceutical manufacturers' authorized distributors that they would not otherwise have been permitted to purchase," the DA's office said.

The drugs were ultimately sold to customers of the two wholesale distributor businesses "at a significant profit."

For example, according to a court document, on April 26, 2018, trastuzumab 150 mg was purchased for $254,189.04 and then sold by the wholesale distributor businesses at $336,000, for a profit of $81,810.95.

Kachadourian is the third doctor to plead guilty to the scheme. The press release didn't name the other two doctors or the pharmacy owner and their two businesses. A court document did name a co-conspirator, Jon Paul Dadaian, MD, a board-certified anesthesiologist and pain management specialist who had offices at several locations in New Jersey.

M. Alexander Otto is a physician assistant with a master's degree in medical science and a journalism degree from Newhouse. He is an award-winning medical journalist who worked for several major news outlets before joining Medscape. Alex is also an MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow. Email: aotto@mdedge.com.

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