A doctor accused of injecting dozens of patients with a Botox substitute that's not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human use has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of misbranding a drug.
Mark Van Wormer entered his plea on July 5 in federal court in Albuquerque as part of a deal with prosecutors that could cost him up to three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and $65,000 in restitution. He is expected to be sentenced within two weeks.
Van Wormer had advertised the FDA-approved anti-wrinkle drug Botox at his Greatskin Clinic in Albuquerque but substituted it with a non-approved form of the toxin. It's estimated that 120 patients received the illegal version, according to his attorney, Paul Kennedy.
Prosecutors said none of Van Wormer's patients was injured by the injections.
Botox is popular because it temporarily eliminates frown lines by paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkles. It's also used to treat migraine headaches, excessive sweating and muscle spasms in the neck and eyes.
Kennedy said Van Wormer's clinic remains open and the doctor hopes to continue practicing in New Mexico.
As of July 5, the New Mexico Medical Board had not issued a notice of contemplated action, which would be the first step in an investigation into whether Van Wormer's license should be suspended or revoked.
Lynn Hart, the board's executive director, said as a matter of policy, the board initiates investigations anytime a physician is convicted of a felony.
Original Source: Albuquerque Tribune; http://www.inboxrobot.com/news.php?fid=128694736