Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed a lawsuit in Washington County Circuit Court against two Oregon medical doctors alleging violations of state consumer protection laws in the unlawful sale and advertising of prescription drugs on the Internet and from a clinic in Tigard. Named in the lawsuit are Dr. Steven Gabriel Moos (pronounced Moss) of Tigard, a medical doctor of "lifestyle" medicine doing business in Oregon as Frontier Medical Clinic of Tigard and the Center for Men's Health, LLC and Dr. Thomas Holeman of Milwaukie, a current employee of Moos at the Tigard clinic. Dr. Moos also has a clinic in Grants Pass.
The case was initially referred to the Oregon Department of Justice by the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners (BME), who in 2000 placed Dr. Moos on ten years of probation for problems associated with advertising and selling prescription drugs over the Internet. The BME subsequently became aware of additional misconduct by Moos as a result of his criminal indictment in Multnomah County for unlawful drug use and a criminal investigation in California related to practicing medicine without a license. Moos' medical license was suspended by the BME on an emergency basis in January 2003. The emergency suspension was confirmed as a final order in April 2003.
The Oregon Department of Justice received significant assistance from the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigation with the investigation leading up to this lawsuit. Oregon and the FDA and other state and federal agencies are members of the International Interagency Health Products Fraud Steering Committee that promotes multi-agency cooperation in the prosecution of health fraud.
In the course of the investigation, the Department of Justice learned that the FDA had a parallel investigation of the defendants. The two agencies then collaborated in a joint investigation that determined the defendants unlawfully promoted Human Growth Hormone (HGH), illegally sold free samples of prescription drugs, and made misrepresentations concerning a gel marketed and sold on the Internet which they claimed contained the same active ingredient as Viagra.
"Oregonians must be able to trust their doctors when it comes to the health and safety of themselves and their families," Myers said. "The defendants' alleged conduct exploits the trust of their patients to turn a profit peddling prescription drugs that could, in some circumstances, endanger their health."
"Today's court action shows that Oregon's Department of Justice and FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation can effectively strike at medical professionals who violate the public trust and endanger the public health," said FDA Commissioner Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D.
As a result of the joint investigation, today's lawsuit, alleges that defendants violated state and federal laws by advertising and selling "Viaglide," a female arousal cream, over the Internet claiming it contained the same active ingredient found in Viagra when, in fact, it did not. Defendants sold "Viaglide" without a prescription and without examining or taking a medical history from the user. The defendants sold numerous tubes of "Viaglide," at one point averaging 100 tubes per month at $19.99 per tube, but total sales are not known.
The lawsuit also alleges that defendants prescribed, promoted and sold Human Growth Hormone (HGH) by misrepresenting it to consumers as a harmless panacea for the effects of aging when, in fact, the FDA has not found it to be safe and effective for that purpose.
Lastly, the lawsuit alleges that defendants sold prescription drugs to their patients that had been provided to the defendants by the drug manufacturers as free samples and could not be lawfully sold. Federal law prohibits the sale of prescription drug samples with a maximum penalty of ten years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
The lawsuit seeks full restitution to any consumer who purchased "Viaglide," HGH, or drug samples from the defendants, civil penalties of up to $25,000 for each violation of law, reasonable attorney fees and a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants from individually or in any business capacity from promoting or selling drugs, nutritional supplements and any other product claimed as useful in the cure, treatment or prevention of disease in humans.
Consumers wanting information concerning this case and health fraud in general may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org
FDA Public Affairs, (301) 827-6242