California oncologist pays $736k to settle false claims allegations

A Stockton, Calif., oncologist, Neelesh Bangalore, MD, has agreed to pay the federal government $736,000 to settle allegations he violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare for certain chemotherapy drugs purchased from an unlicensed pharmaceutical distributor, according to the Department of Justice.

The government alleged Dr. Bangalore billed the government payers for chemotherapy drugs he purchased from a former United Kingdom-based drug distributor that did not have a license to distribute drugs in the U.S.

One of the drugs Dr. Bangalore purchased and administered to patients was Altuzan, which is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The government further alleged that it tested a batch of Dr. Bangalore's Altuzan and determined it was counterfeit and lacked the active ingredient bevacizumab.

Dr. Bangalore engaged in the alleged fraudulent activity over a two-year period that ended in May 2011, according to the DOJ.

Although Dr. Bangalore has agreed to this settlement, there has been no determination of liability in this case.

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