Missouri Doctor Admits Diluting Clinic’s Methadone
ST. LOUIS - A doctor admitted on Friday that he diluted methadone that was dispensed in a St. Francois County, Missouri, methadone clinic in 2021.
Dr. Sunil G. Chand, 59, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Sarah E. Pitlyk to one count of adulterating a drug with the intent to defraud or mislead. He admitted that while the owner of Best Medical LLC, a family medicine clinic in Leadington, Missouri, he added saline and water to bottles of methadone to conceal a shortage of the drug from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Dr. Chand decided in 2020 to open a methadone clinic to treat patients with narcotic use disorders, his plea agreement says. Dr. Chand caused Best Medical to obtain a DEA registration authorizing it to operate as a narcotic treatment program and to store and dispense Schedule II controlled substances, including methadone, to treat patients with narcotic use disorders.
On April 6, 2021, the clinic received 12 1,000 milliliter bottles of methadone oral concentrate. Best Medical's methadone clinic opened the next day, treating patients who came in to receive an oral, liquid dose of methadone.
By April 22, Dr. Chand became aware that methadone was missing. Instead of reporting the methadone loss to the DEA within one business day of its discovery, as required, he instructed Best Medical's clinical director several days later to complete and submit a DEA Form 106 to report the loss.
Dr. Chand admitted that the form, submitted April 28, inaccurately reported that 1,075 milliliters of methadone had been lost. Dr. Chand then came in on a Sunday, when the clinic was closed, to dilute the methadone, his plea agreement says.
As part of the plea agreement, Dr. Chand has also agreed to surrender his DEA registration, which authorized him to prescribe certain controlled substances.
Dr. Chand is scheduled to be sentenced May 30. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
"As part of our mission, DEA is dedicated to patient safety and oversight of all medical professionals registered with DEA,” said Diversion Program Manager Inez Davis, DEA’s lead for the Diversion program in Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois. “Dr. Chand abused his authority and public trust by altering controlled substance medications intended for those seeking treatment for substance use disorders. With this acknowledgement of wrongdoing, his patients will no longer be subjected to substandard care."
The DEA investigated this case with the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.