Doctors have an obligation to practice responsible medicine. Our lives are literally in their hands. And while some doctors will go the extra mile for their patients, oncologist Diana Norbergs took that mindset to the extreme.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Norbergs “bought discounted foreign-label cancer drugs without government approval and used them on unsuspecting patients.”
Now the key terms here are “discounted foreign-label” and “unsuspecting patients.” This was a bit more sinister, in other words, than what you would find at top-notch hospitals like M.D. Anderson in Houston or Norbergs’ former employer (pictured below).
Had Diana Norbergs been using known experimental drugs that were somewhere on the spectrum of the FDA-approval process and had she been using the drugs on terminal patients with aggressive forms of cancer, you could almost sympathize with her decision-making.
But when you’re buying from overseas and you’re not being straight-up with the patients, you waste any goodwill you might have been able to build in the aforementioned scenario.
Norbergs, for her troubles, will not only find it impossible to practice medicine again, but she will also be spending the next six years of her life behind bars.
At sentencing this week, the Times noted, Norbergs “apologized to her patients, 66 of whom were deemed to be victims of her crimes.”
“I am so sorry for the stress I may have caused you and your family members,” she said. “My patients were the most important thing in my life. I would never intentionally harm anybody.”
Especially now that you’ll be pursuing a second, presumably less lucrative career thanks to the law and a little thing called Google.
Yep, Norbergs will be screwed for a very long time. She reportedly administered “at least $700,000 worth” of the unapproved drugs and then had the
cojones stupidity to bill Medicare as if they were the higher-priced versions from the United States. Reported drugs used were MabThera, Eprex, Ribomustin, Neulastim, and Zometa. They were accessed from distributors in the U.K. and Canada.
Adding to the prison sentence, she’ll be required to pay $848,671 in restitution. Most of that will go to the Medicare program.
(Featured Image: Moffitt Cancer Center)