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California Briefing / UPLAND

Doctor charged with drug fraud

August 16, 2008|Tami Abdollah

A doctor who allegedly smuggled unapproved drugs into the United States from India and Honduras and administered partial dosages to his cancer patients was charged Friday with breaking interstate commerce laws.

Vinod Chandrashekm Patwardhan, 58, was arrested Friday morning at his medical office in the 900 block of West Foothill Boulevard.

The arrest culminated an investigation that began in April when one of the doctor's medical assistants contacted a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, authorities said.

According to a complaint filed Wednesday and unsealed Friday, Patwardhan treated about 35 cancer patients a week and administered partial dosages of the illegal drugs to patients undergoing chemotherapy. The Claremont resident was charged with one count of delivering misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. If convicted, he could get a maximum of three years in federal prison.

Patwardhan's attorney, Benjamin Gluck, said the doctor had worked with cancer patients in Upland for 35 years.

"He's provided good care to lots and lots of patients, often paying for it out of his own pocket in the cases where HMOs refused to reimburse it," Gluck said. "We believe he didn't provide bad care to any patient."

Patwardhan's arraignment is set for Sept. 17.

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