A 70-year-old Indian-American doctor's licence has been suspended by the Medical Board of Georgia state for allegedly using insecticides to treat cancer patients and prescribing unauthorised drugs.
The nine-member board took the unanimous decision at a meeting on Thursday.
The board's action came after a federal grand jury had accused Totada R Shanthaveerappa, a practitioner in Stockbridge, earlier this week, of using weed killer and insecticide to treat patients. The jury had returned an 87-count indictment accusing him of falsely billing insurance companies that he was using approved drugs.
In its order, the state board cited the case of a cancer patient treated by Shanthaveerappa in 2001. It said the 70-year-old doctor treated the patient with a chemotherapy drug called methotrexate in doses so high they posed "an unreasonable and significant risk to the patient who subsequently died from complications caused by the methotrexate".
The board said it had received a letter from Shanthaveerappa on Thursday acknowledging that he had treated patients with two drugs not approved for use in the United States and that he misbranded one of the drugs.
Prosecutors claim that Shanthaveerappa and his assistant, Dan Bartoli, injected numerous patients with unapproved and misbranded drugs, including Dinithrophenol, a weed killer and other insecticides. The two men also submitted false insurance claims, which disguised the types of drugs and treatments they were providing.
Shanthaveerappa has not been arrested. His lawyer Donaway said the doctor plans to plead not guilty when he appears in court on Tuesday.
Sources in the law enforcement agency said they expect him to surrender within the next few days.
Shanthaveerappa, who has been licensed to practice since 1972, can appeal the medical board's decision before a state administrative law judge or the state Supreme Court.
Shanthaveerappa runs the Integrated Medical Specialist clinic and its website says its goal is to use a combination of conventional and alternative therapies to cure cancer whenever possible, by combining the latest in conventional and alternative modalities for an unsurpassed multi-level attack against all cancer,' it says.
According to the website, the standard 2-3 week treatment will cost between $25,000 and $45,000, and maximum charges will not exceed $60,000 dollars for 3 to 6 weeks.