Department of Justice
Eastern District of Missouri
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 25, 2022
ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber on Thursday sentenced a doctor from Town and Country, Missouri to a year in prison for a health care fraud scheme and ordered he and his wife to repay $235,977.
On over 1,000 occasions spanning nearly a decade, Dr. Abdul Naushad, 58, and Wajiha Naushad, 47, had their unwitting patients injected with cheaper, foreign Orthovisc that had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman said in court. The Naushads betrayed the trust of elderly and impoverished patients to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a $2 million mansion, two vacation houses and four luxury cars, Wiseman said.
FDA-approved Orthovisc, which is sold by authorized distributors in the United States, comes in a pre-filled syringe. It is injected into the knee to relieve osteoarthritis pain and is available only by prescription.
The Naushads concealed their actions from patients, employees and publicly-funded health insurance programs by, among other things, stonewalling questions from their chief of purchasing. After a shipment of foreign, unapproved injections was seized by the FDA, the Naushads had the next shipment sent to their home.
Wajiha Naushad lied to her compliance officer and friend by telling her the injections came from a distributor in the U.S., and fraudulently persuaded the compliance officer that the Orthovisc had a required National Drug Code number.
A jury in April convicted the couple of one conspiracy count and one count of health care fraud. Wajiha Naushad was sentenced Thursday to three years of probation.
“Injectable unapproved medical devices that are smuggled from unknown foreign sources and come from outside the secure supply chain can present a serious health risk to patients who receive them,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead with the Kansas City Field Office of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. “Not only are the device components completely unknown, the conditions under which they are manufactured and held are outside the regulatory scrutiny of the legitimate supply chain. We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who traffic in illegal unapproved medical products,” he said.
Special Agent in Charge Curt L. Muller with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said, “The Naushads went to significant lengths to conceal their repeated use of and billing for a medication that they did not actually provide to patients. In addition to the defendants misleading patients and staff about the substance used for these injections, the Naushads deceived federal health care programs into reimbursing for a more expensive medication than was used. For HHS-OIG and our law enforcement partners, ceasing fraudulent activity that targets these programs is a top priority.”
The Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Missouri Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Derek Wiseman and Dorothy McMurtry prosecuted the case.
Health Care Fraud
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
USAO - Missouri, Eastern