Missouri lawmaker accused of selling fake stem cell drugs to treat coronavirus

Missouri lawmaker accused of selling fake stem cell drugs to treat coronavirus

Missouri Republican legislator Patricia Derges promised patients treatments with “regenerative” stem cells, but instead gave them amniotic fluid that did not contain them. She was charged with 20 counts of lying to people and selling them fake medicine, including COVID-19.

Patricia Ashton Derges, 63, allegedly gave so-called “regenerative” treatments to clients who came to the Ozark Valley Medical Clinic looking for cures for various ailments. The clinic offered its patients amniotic fluid that supposedly contained stem cells, but the drug did not actually contain them. After Derges made false claims on a Springfield television station in April that stem cells could treat coronavirus, an investigation was launched, the FBI said in a statement.

On Facebook, Derges claimed that “her clinic’s amazing cure represented a potentially safe and natural cure for COVID-19.” But it was a hoax. According to the indictment, Derges turned herself in and was released on bail after her first appearance in federal court.

Derges is a paramedic who received her medical degree from the Caribbean Medical University of Curacao in May 2014. She charged her patients between $950 and $1,450 per milliliter of fake medicine, and some paid as much as $6,500 for what they thought was a stem cell treatment. The indictment alleges that patients paid Dergues approximately $191,815 for amniotic fluid that did not contain stem cells.