Regulatory Actions against Edmund Chein, M.D.

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Since 1994, Edmund Chein, M.D., has operated the Palm Springs Life Extension Institute (PSLEI) in Palm Springs, California, which, according to its Web site, specializes in "optimized total hormone balancing by returning hormone levels to values consistent with a younger person." In 1995, he was placed on three years probation, the terms of which included an ethics course, psychiatric evaluation, practice monitor, and payment of investigation and prosecution costs. In 2002, the Medical Board of California charged him with a total of 13 counts of gross and repeated negligence, incompetence, prescribing without medical indication, inadequate record-keeping, general professional misconduct, dishonesty, and dispensing controlled substances unlawfully. The accusation document states that he prescribed hormones inappropriately for two patients and purchased a controlled drug (micronized testosterone) using his sister's DEA license [1]. The case was settled in 2005 with a stipulation under which Chein agreed be on probation for five years, during which he must (a) pay $10,000 to the State of California for costs, (b) take courses in ethics, prescribing practices, and record-keeping, (c) refrain from making unsubstantiated advertising claims, and (d) either have his practice monitored or participate in an intensive professional enhancement program [2].

Chein has had a parallel history of trouble with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which regulates the distribution of narcotics and other controlled substances. In 2007, after documenting a long pattern of illegal conduct, the agency permanently revoked Chein's practitioner registration certificate and denied his application for permission to export these substances [3]. Among other things, the agency concluded that Chein had exported over 300 controlled substances to at least eleven countries without an exporter’s registration. Chein appealed DEA's decision [4], but in July 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against him. The judge concluded:

The DEA Deputy Administrator found that it was not in the public interest to renew Cheinís practitionerís registration or to grant him an export registration because he provided several undercover agents with anabolic steroids to enhance athletic performance; committed a number of record keeping violations; ordered controlled substances using an unauthorized DEA registration number; illegally imported controlled substances from an unregistered Mexican pharmacy and illegally shipped controlled substances to hundreds of overseas patients without a DEA export registration. Moreover, the FDA found that Chein continued to dispense controlled substances even after his DEA registration had been suspended and continued to export controlled substances even after being informed by DEA that it was illegal to do so. . .

Chein cannot credibly claim claim that he has cooperated with DEA given his continued exporting of controlled substances after he was repeatedly informed that it was illegal to do so, as well as his continued dispensing of controlled substances even after his DEA registration was suspended. Nor has Chein accepted responsibility for his misconduct as evidenced by, inter alia, his continued insistence that his dispensing of anabolic steroids to the undercover agents was proper and his providing misleading information to DEA investigators. . . . Moreover, we note that Chein engaged in a persistent course of misconduct which, at the time of the notice of immediate suspension, spanned at least seven years [45].

References

  1. Accusation. In the Matter of the Accusation Against: Edmund Chein, M.D., Case No. 19-2000-107723, Aug 15, 2002.
  2. Stipulated settlement and disciplinary order. In the Matter of the Accusation Against: Edmund Chein, M.D. Case No. 19-2000-107723, Sept 22, 2005.
  3. Edmund Chein, M.D.; Revocation of practitioner’s registration, denial of application for exporter’s registration. DEA Docket Nos. 02-09, 02-43. Federal Register 72:6580-6595, 2007.
  4. Brief for petitioner. Chein v Drug Enforcement Administration et al. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Case No 07-1051.
  5. Opinion and decision. Chein v Drug Enforcement Administration et al. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Case No 07-1051, July 22, 2008.

This article was posted on July 25, 2008.

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