Local oncologist at center of federal probe to retire
Oct 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM
McLeod Cancer and Blood Center will close its doors, and the oncologist at the center of an unapproved medication investigation will “semi-retire,” according to his attorney.
McLeod and its founder, Dr. William Kincaid, came under investigation earlier this year when the Federal Drug Administration discovered a variety of misbranded, or mislabeled, chemotherapy medications.
But even with the closing of Mcleod, the cancer treatment center will reopen under a new name and new director, according to Johnson City lawyer Mark Slagle. He said the Wesley Street location will close permanently and all operations will be located at the main office on North State of Franklin Road.
Slagle’s client, Kincaid, will retire.
“He has had a stellar career,” Slagle said of Kincaid. “This has been a devastating turn of events both financially as well as professionally,” Slagle said.
The cancer center’s office manager, Michael Combs, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greeneville last month to receiving interstate commerce, which was the misbranded medication.
Attorneys involved in the case have said there is no indication any of the “mislabeled” drugs were ineffective.
“It means the label on the product itself was not consistent with the federal government standard,” Cliff Corker, Combs’ attorney, said in September.
“Michael Combs did not plead guilty to receiving a fake drug. He pleaded guilty to receiving a real drug that was mislabeled,” Corker said.
McLeod has three oncologists — Kincaid, Dr. Ray Lamb and Dr. Charles Famoyin.
Slagle said the federal investigation has affected all of the doctors’ abilities to practice medicine.
The medications in question that McLeod received from one of its suppliers — which Slagle said, “McLeod thought was a very genuine source in the United States” — represented 2 percent of all the medications the center purchased.
Another allegation in Combs’ case involved how the medications were shipped and stored. In Combs’ plea agreement, he told federal investigators Kincaid told him to have the drugs shipped to a storage business Kincaid owns in Johnson City. From there, the medications were taken to Combs’ office at the clinic and then mingled into FDA-approved drugs in the clinic’s drug storage area.
No one else has been charged in the case, but federal officials said last month the investigation is continuing.