A Lebanon County restaurant, a Wyomissing surgeon and a nearby pharmacy is facing accusations of running an illegal fake prescription ring that provides people access to unproven Covid-19 treatments such as Ivermectin and hydrochloroquine.
Christine Mason, the daughter of the Taste of Sicily restaurant in Palmyra and the manager of its Facebook page, posted a video on Jan. 26 saying she has "H" or "I" "that can save your life if you're sick" and you can "get it tomorrow" because it "ships from Pennsylvania."
In another video, she told viewers that she can provide prescriptions from a Wyomissing surgeon who she said she could not name. Popular TikTok user @thatdaneshguy reposted the video, along with screenshots of messages the restaurant sent out to interested parties.
Although Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are government-approved drugs, they aren't approved for treating or preventing COVID-19. However, some people, including those who deny the benefits of COVID-19 vaccine and approved treatments, have promoted them for use against COVID-19.
Danesh also said he reported the alleged operation to the authorities while noting that the Lebanon County District Attorney, Pier Hess Graff, was friends with Mason."I hope that there is no conflict of interest," Danesh says in the video.
Taste of Sicily Under Investigation by Authorities
A day after Danesh's video was posted, Penn Live reported that the restaurant was under investigation by authorities. Hess Graff told the news outlet that her office received multiple complaints of misconduct on Monday and learned local police also received complaints with regards to Taste of Sicily.
"Police indicated they received complaints, and a preliminary investigation showed allegations of misconduct which potentially spanned multiple counties," she said in a written statement.
Hess Graff said she referred the matter to the state Attorney General's Office, which she said is the appropriate agency to investigate allegations involving multiple counties. A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office said she could not confirm or deny the office's involvement.
Mason responded to the investigation in a Facebook Live post on Tuesday afternoon, saying "You can't go to jail if you've done nothing wrong."
Surgeon Identified as Dr. Edith Del Mar Behr, Meds Shipped from Local Pharmacy
Although Mason refused to name the surgeon who provided the fake prescriptions, Danesh and fellow TikToker Savannah who goes by @rx0rcist on the platform, identified the mysterious doctor as Edith Del Mar Behr – a private practice surgeon who has a "special interest in alternative medicine."
As evidence, Danesh shared screenshots of messages he received from Mason confirming the surgeon's identity after he pretended to be one of her customers. He also shared an audio clip of a phone conversation with Dr. Behr admitting to sending in over a 100 prescriptions to the pharmacy over the last two days.
Savannah posted a video saying Dr. Behr not only provided the prescriptions but also sourced the medication from a local pharmacy named Capstone Compounding Pharmacy, which is owned by a Dr. Scott A. Wertz. The TikTok user alleged that the pharmacy only accepts cash payments to have the medication picked up or shipped to the interested parties.
Breaking the Law
She noted that a number of laws were being broken by Taste of Sicily, Dr. Behr and Capstone Compounding Pharmacy. She said the restaurant would get into trouble for running the "back door prescription ring" and providing people access to medication from a doctor that they have never spoken to.
The TikTok user pointed out that Dr. Behr would be liable for providing the prescriptions for the unproven Covid-19 treatment medication without knowing the patient's drug or medical history and contracting with Capstone Compounding Pharmacy for financial gain – a violation that carries a criminal charge.
According to Savannah, the pharmacy as well as the pharmacist would also face fraud charges for declining to bill insurance and accepting cash-only payments. Other offences include failure to take into account the patient's medication allergies or failure to do due diligence over a valid patient-prescriber relationship. Lastly, Savannah said Hess Graff would also be liable for being complicit.
Dr. Behr, who practices as a surgeon in Pottstown, Pa., under Tower Health Medical Group, has been suspended pending an investigation, the healthcare provider said in a reply to a Twitter user. Danesh also posted an update saying that Dr. Behr's license had been revoked.