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Doctor faces 500 years in prison for prescribing smuggled, unapproved cancer meds

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. – A Florida oncologist has been convicted of smuggling unapproved and misbranded drugs into the U.S. to pad her pockets at the expense of cancer patients, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

When Dr. D. Anda Norbergs, 61, of Palm Harbor, goes before a judge for sentencing in February, she faces more than 500 years in prison.

Starting in 2009, Norbergs started importing drugs from foreign, unlicensed distributors for use in her clinic, East Lake Oncology, court documents show.

Norbergs would then administer the drugs to her patients as if they were legitimate medications that had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and then bill Medicare for the treatment, investigators said.

In many cases, the drugs being ordered from overseas would be labeled with legitimate brand names, officials said.

One of the distributors Norbergs used, Quality Specialty Products, had reportedly sold chemotherapy medication that lacked a key ingredient, the Department of Justice said.

Despite knowing this, Norbergs continued to purchase cancer drugs from the distributor, including a January 2011 order for $700,000 worth of misbranded, unapproved medication, court documents show.

She would usually order the drugs from a company in the United Kingdom, but packaging showed they were manufactured in such countries as Turkey, India and Germany, officials said.

Some of the medication came in packaging in foreign languages without any English translation, Norbergs’ federal indictment said.

She was convicted by a federal jury Friday on 17 counts of receipt and delivery of misbranded drugs, 12 counts of smuggling goods into the U.S., 11 counts of health care fraud and five counts of mail fraud.

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