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La Jolla oncologist Joel Bernstein has been ordered, along with his company, Joel I. Bernstein M.D., Inc., to repay Medicare millions of dollars after being caught in an illegal billing scam, Courthouse News Service reports.

Over a four-year period beginning in 2007, Bernstein’s office purchased $3.4 million worth of foreign, unapproved cancer drugs “for significantly less than market value in the U.S.,” then submitted claims for full reimbursement value of equivalent U.S. Food and Drug Administration medications by fraudulently using Medicare reimbursement codes for drugs legal in the U.S.

Bernstein (the corporation) was fined $500,000, ordered to forfeit $1.2 million and pay an additional $1.7 million in restitution as part of a guilty plea entered in January. Bernstein (the person) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of introducing unapproved drugs into interstate commerce, and faces sentencing today (July 2).

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