Republican state lawmaker indicted for allegedly selling fake stem cell treatments for Covid-19

Patricia Derges charged patients for “regenerative” stem cell treatments, but instead gave them amniotic fluid that didn’t contain stem cells, an indictment said.

Patricia Ashton Derges, 63, allegedly gave so-called “regenerative” treatments to clients who came to the Ozark Valley Medical Clinic looking for treatment for various illnesses.

According to a statement released by the Department of Justice, “This defendant abused her privileged position to enrich herself through deception,” said U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison. “The indictment alleges she lied to her patients and she lied to federal agents. As an elected official and a health care provider, she deserves to be held to a high standard. This grand jury indictment exposes her deception and holds her accountable for her actions.”

This investigation began as a result of false or misleading statements made by Derges in April 2020 to a Springfield television station regarding her potential use of stem cells to treat COVID-19. Derges was elected in November 2020 as a Missouri state representative in District 140 (Christian County). Derges, who is not a physician but is licensed as an assistant physician, operates three Ozark Valley Medical Clinic locations in Springfield, Ozark, and Branson, Mo.

According to the indictment, Derges administered the treatment to patients with the promise that stem cells would help alleviate a range of health issues, from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to erectile dysfunction. Derges, an assistant physician who got her medical degree from Caribbean Medical University of Curacao in May 2014, allegedly gave the treatments herself.

The clinic obtained amniotic fluid through the University of Utah for about $244.00 per ml. Derges then charged her patients $950 to $1,450 per ml of amniotic fluid, the indictment said, with some paying as much as $6,500 for what they thought were treatments with stem cells.

Derges faces 10 counts of distributing Oxycodone and Adderall over the internet without valid prescriptions. She is not a physician but is licensed as an assistant physician. Under Missouri law, an assistant physician can prescribe drugs to patients but an in-person medical evaluation of them is standard procedure.

An assistant physician is a mid-level medical professional in the state of Missouri. Under Missouri law, medical school graduates who have not been accepted into a residency program but have passed Step 1 and Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination may apply to become an assistant physician. State law mandates that assistant physicians practice pursuant to a collaborative practice arrangement with a licensed physician.

Derges obtained her medical degree from the Caribbean Medical University of Curacao in May 2014 but was not accepted into a post-graduate residency program. Derges was licensed as an assistant physician by the state of Missouri on Sept. 8, 2017.

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