Chicago oncologist relinquishes license to settle illegal cancer drug probe

A Chicago-area oncologist agreed to give up her medical license to settle charges by state officials that she administered nonapproved and misbranded cancer therapies to her patients between 2008 and 2012, according to the Chicago Tribune.

As part of an agreement to avoid prosecution by the Federal Drug Administration, Ann Kinnealey, MD, admitted she purchased and dispensed nearly $1 million worth of illegal cancer drugs through a Canadian supplier.

Dr. Kinnealey, 68, who practiced in Evanston, Ill., reached the settlement with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation April 21. Previously, her medical license had been put on suspension by the state.

"We entered into an agreement with Dr. Kinnealey to relinquish her controlled substance license as well as her physician and surgeon license in Illinois," Terry Horstman, a spokesman for the state regulatory agency, told the Chicago Tribune. "That means she will no longer be able to practice medicine or prescribe controlled substances within Illinois."

According to an FDA investigation, Dr. Kinnealey was notified in 2009 that shipments of nonapproved cancer treatments she purchased from Canada were not allowed into the U.S. However, she continued to purchase and treat her patients with the nonapproved drugs through 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The drugs were purchased from a pharmaceutical wholesaler called Quality Specialty Products, which is owned by Canada Drugs.

In February 2012, the FDA warned 19 medical practices, including Dr. Kinnealey's, to stop using counterfeit products and other nonapproved cancer drugs from QSP.

Dr. Kinnealey admitted to purchasing nearly $978,000 of cancer therapies from QSP, paying about 25 percent less than she would have paid for drugs approved for sale in the U.S. She also billed Medicare for some of the Canadian drugs and was reimbursed more than $514,000, according to the state regulatory agency. Dr. Kinnealey was ordered to pay roughly $129,000 in restitutions to the federal government, according to the report.

She was affiliated with Swedish Covenant hospital in Chicago and Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston. Representatives from both hospitals said Tuesday that Dr. Kinnealey had retired. The Chicago Tribune could not reach her for comment.

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