SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A San Francisco physician has agreed to pay $1,033,666 in a settlement to resolve allegations that he charged Medicare for drugs and services not approved by the federal government.

Prosecutors announced that Dr. Roger Wang knowingly submitted thousands of false claims between 2015 and 2019 for reimbursement for drugs and services — specifically Synvisc and Orthovisc — that are neither approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor covered by Medicare.

According to the settlement, viscosupplements, such as Synvisc, Synvisc One, and Orthovisc, are FDA-approved drugs injected for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain. The United States alleges that Wang, a rheumatology specialist practicing in San Francisco, purchased and injected versions of the drugs into his patients that were not approved by the FDA for distribution in the United States and therefore were not covered by Medicare. The doctor went on to bill Medicare for the drugs and injections.  

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“When Medicare pays for drugs and services, the government expects doctors to follow the rules in place to protect patient safety,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds. “In this case, the rules require doctors seeking reimbursement from Medicare for injecting viscosupplements to use FDA-approved drugs.  This office will hold accountable anyone who seeks to cut corners by defrauding American taxpayers and risking harm to patients by using unapproved medications.”

Prosecutors said the claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.