Officials charge Missouri lawmaker with fraud

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Officials charged Tricia Derges, a Republican lawmaker in Missouri of a fraud scheme. She owns clinics where she told patients she could treat Covid-19 using stem cells.

Missouri lawmakers removed Derges from her committee assignments earlier this week. The U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo. revealed a 20 count indictment against her also. The Missouri House speaker asked her to step down from her legislative position.

While Dr. Tricia Derges is a licensed assistant physician, she profited more than $200k at 3 clinics where she used unproven therapies. She said that her injections included stem cells.

Dr. Derges wrote in Facebook last spring that these injections would aid patients with Covid-19.

“This amazing treatment stands to provide a potential cure for COVID-19 patients that is safe and natural,” the indictment said Dr. Derges wrote in the post.

“All of the components of the God given amniotic fluid: Mesenchymal Stem Cells (progenitor stem cells which are baby stem cells: can become any tissue they want); cytokines, exosomes, chemokines, hyaluronic acid, growth factors and over 800 proteins working to create a human being: the emphasis on the lungs.”

Food and Drug Administration warned patients about unproven treatments that are illegal and may do much harm. The NIH mentioned that clinical trials are the appropriate setting to assess if a therapy is safe and effective. Tricia Derges had not used anything that has passed such scrutiny.

“This defendant abused her privileged position to enrich herself through deception,” Tim Garrison, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said in a statement. “As an elected official and a health care provider, she deserves to be held to a high standard.”

Prosecutors also charged Derges, 63, with illegal use of oxycodone and Adderall at her three medical clinics in the Ozarks in southwestern Missouri, as well as lying to federal officials.

Clinical trial data and an independent advisory group will determine whether or not a therapy should be used for Covid-19 as has happened with vaccines.

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