Doctor in Missouri pleads guilty to diluting methadone in a clinic

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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 twelve 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 on 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 on May 30. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Sestric is prosecuting the case.

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