Dermatologist fined millions for ‘outright fraud’

A US dermatologist has been fined millions of dollars for falsely diagnosing hundreds of skin cancer cances so he could bill for unnecessary treatments.

Gary Lee Marder, 60, has been ordered to pay $23m to settle fraud claims made against him by the US government and a whistleblowing local doctor.

The court heard that Dr Marder urged his assistants to each perform 50 biopsies a day, and was paid by Medicare for around 40,000 radiation treatments, many of which took place while he was out of the country.

“Outright fraud of the scope and magnitude seen in this case is rarely seen, especially when supported by such irrefutable evidence,” US attorney Mark Lavine told the court.

“The pervasiveness of Marder’s practices resulted in virtually every reviewed claim being false.”

The court also heard that Dr Marder boosted his radiation bills sevenfold and that his assistants were encouraged to provide ‘cookie cutter’ radiation treatments to patients irrespective of diagnosis.

In reality, many of the patients had nothing more sinister than warts, moles or even freckles, the court heard.

Meanwhile, the BMJ reports that Dr Marder’s clinic is still open, his licence active and there is no sign of a disciplinary case before the state’s medical board.