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Fla. Doc Charged With Diluting Drugs

A urologist was charged Wednesday with watering down an expensive drug used to treat people with advanced cases of prostate cancer.

Victor Souaid, 40, of Lighthouse Point is charged in the 60-count indictment with health care fraud, product tampering and the wholesale distribution of prescription drugs without a license.

Authorities say Souaid failed to properly administer the drug Lupron to at least 32 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer between July 2000 and November 2001.

Souaid allegedly tampered with and diluted Lupron to inject the drug into more than one patient, the indictment said. It also accused the doctor of wrongfully distributing Lupron through a series of sales totaling more than $1.5 million. The doctor was not a licensed wholesale broker at the time.

The doctor's attorney, Ben Kuehne, said his client was a highly respected physician who "remains greatly disturbed that the government has charged him with something he didn't do."

He said the doctor had success with cutting-edge therapies in prostate cancer. "The U.S. Attorney's office has no business making medical judgments that are within the sound discretion of good doctors like Dr. Souaid," Kuehne said.

A judge set a bond hearing for Monday.

The indictment did not say whether Souaid's alleged conduct affected the health of any patients. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.

In December, a federal judge sentenced former Kansas City, Mo., pharmacist Robert Courtney to 30 years in prison, fined him $25,000 and ordered him to pay $10.4 million in restitution to victims of his chemotherapy drug dilution scheme.

Courtney, 50, pleaded guilty to 20 counts of adulterating, misbranding and tampering with the cancer drugs Taxol and Gemzar. The counts stemmed from his dilution of 158 chemotherapy doses he prepared for 34 patients.

But Courtney admitted in his plea agreement he had been diluting drugs since 1992, affecting as many as 4,200 patients, 400 doctors and 98,000 prescriptions. Courtney said he diluted the drugs to make money.

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