Cancer doctor to plead guilty in misbranded drug case

Becky Campbell • Dec 4, 2012 at 10:16 PM

A doctor at the center of a “misbranded” medication scandal that effectively shut down one of the area’s most renowned cancer treatment centers will plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Greeneville next week on a related charge.

Dr. William Kincaid, one of three physicians in the partnership that was McLeod Blood and Cancer Center, will enter a guilty plea to “receiving in interstate commerce a misbranded drug with intent to defraud or mislead,” according to documents obtained from federal court.

In November, an “information” document was filed that detailed what Kincaid is accused of, and there was a plea agreement hearing scheduled. But only recently was the actual plea agreement document accessible on the court’s public access website.

Kincaid’s plea agreement hearing, previously scheduled this week, is now set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Kincaid will face up to three years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, supervised release up to a year and probation up to five years. A judge will set a date for sentencing at next week’s hearing.

According to information in the plea agreement, the federal government claims McLeod purchased $2 million worth of cancer medications from a company named Quality Specialty Products, located in Canada, but the drugs were not processed through an FDA-approved supplier.

The drugs cost less than the clinic was paying from FDA-approved suppliers in the U.S. and a decision was made by Kincaid, Dr. Ray Lamb and Dr. Charles Famoyin for the business manager, Michael Combs, to order the drugs in September 2007.

Later that year, and in early 2008, nurses at the clinic raised concerns about medications with foreign language on the labels that were delivered to the clinic and there was a decision to stop ordering from QSP.

But in August 2009, QSP approached Kincaid and Combs about doing business together again and Kincaid decided to buy medications from QSP. But instead of having medications delivered to the clinic, Kincaid told Combs to have them shipped to a storage business Kincaid had part ownership in, then the medications were transferred to the Cancer Clinic and mingled into FDA-approved drugs in the storage area.

According to the government document, McLeod purchased $2 million worth of drugs from QSP, but billed “Medicare, TennCare and other government benefits programs approximately $2.5 million for the unapproved drugs.”

Kincaid’s plea agreement lists nine medications the government says were purchased from QSP. Those medications are Abraxane, Alimta, Avastin, Eloxatin, Gemzar, Herceptin, Rituaxan, Taxotere and Zometa.

Combs was charged during the investigation, which began in February, and pleaded guilty to one count of receiving misbranded drugs. He faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, and a possible five-year probation term. Combs is scheduled for sentencing on April 1.

There have been no indication Lamb or Famoyin will be prosecuted in the case. Famoyin left McLeod earlier this year to open his own cancer treatment clinic, and Lamb is reportedly in the process of doing the same.

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