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Doctor seeks shorter sentence in unregulated drug purchase case

May 31st, 2013 10:06 pm by Becky Campbell

Doctor seeks shorter sentence in unregulated drug purchase case

Dr. William Kincaid pleaded guilty to buying cheaper unregulated treatment drugs but billing insurance and Medicare full price in December.

A Johnson City cancer doctor who pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greeneville earlier this year to buying cheaper unregulated treatment drugs but billing insurance and Medicare full price wants a lighter sentence than the 36 months prosecutors are seeking.

Dr. William Kincaid, who headed up McLeod Blood and Cancer Center, faces up to three years in federal prison and federal prosecutors are asking for the maximum to be imposed. In a motion filed last week, Kincaid’s attorney, Guy Blackwell, said the government changed positions after testing of the drugs showed all contained the proper dosage of cancer-fighting ingredients.

In a court filing earlier this week, Blackwell states “the government was specifically asked if its goal in the current case was a jail sentence for Dr. Kincaid. The government said that exposure to jail time was not the same as the government asking for jail time. The government is now asking for 36 months, the maximum penalty, without consideration of the history and characteristics of Dr. Kincaid or other sentencing factors that come into play.”

Kincaid, one of three physicians in the partnership that was McLeod Blood and Cancer Center in Johnson City, entered a plea in federal court in December to “receiving in interstate commerce a misbranded drug with intent to defraud or mislead” before Judge Ronnie Greer.

A sentencing hearing is now set for June 10. Kincaid, 67, faces up to three years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, supervised release up to a year and probation up to five years.

The guilty plea means Kincaid is now a convicted felon.

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 2008, nurses raised concerns about the medications with foreign language on the labels. Shipments from QSP stopped but were resumed in 2009 with the drugs going to a storage business in which Kincaid had part ownership. These drugs were then mingled into the FDA-approved drugs at the cancer clinic.

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.

In Blackwell’s filing this week, he notes that prosecutors changed the sentence they seek after testing on the misbranded drugs showed they did contain the proper cancer-fighting properties.

In a response to Blackwell’s document, prosecutors said “the FDA analysis, dated Dec. 17, 2012 … established none of the QSP chemotherapy drugs counterfeit and confirmed each contained the required active ingredient as an FDA approved drug.”

Kincaid is free on a $20,000 bond while his case is pending.

There are also a number of letters in the record — one from Kincaid and around 100 from supporters — asking Greer to show leniency at the doctor’s sentencing later this month.

For related stories, click here and here.

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