This week our Rogue of the Week
focused on the case of Dr. Jerome Lentini, who was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for injecting more than 800 victims with non-FDA-approved Botulinum toxin marked 'NOT FOR HUMAN USE' at his 'A Younger You' clinics in Salem and Tigard, according to court records.
(We made the U.S. Attorney's Office our Rogue for giving Lentini a plea deal that was half of the maximum for his crime and a quarter of the maximum under their own sentencing guideline calculations.)
After the Rogue ran, Lentini, who prison term doesn't start until January, contacted WW wanting to tell his side of the story. He said his lawyer advised him not to speak to the media while the case was underway.
Here is his side of the story drawn from e-mails he sent to WW:
The botox my patients were injected with is REAL [i.e. just not name-brand] BOTOX. Botulinum Toxin Type A [...] sounds scary, however, it is a protein that is very safe if used properly and has more than forty uses in medicine; from cross eyed children to Gastrointestinal problems to cerebral palsy patients.
I should have known better, I should not have used the product, but they not only fooled me but 215 well respected and well known Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists throughout the country.
The warning label the company [...] put on the bottle was in tiny, tiny print in the back of the vial running vertical to the rest of the label in a pale yellow not red. I would be willing to bet anyone that did not have perfect vision or did not turn the vial around would not see it.
Fact: Doctors use Non-FDA approved drugs and different brands in the hospitals and clinics "ALL THE TIME AND EVERY DAY IN EVERY HOSPITAL IN THE US". FOR EXAMPLE, MORPHINE IS NOT FDA APPROVED, NEITHER IS ATROPINE FOR SLOW HEARTS. ATROPINE IS ALSO USED BY ANESTHESIA IF YOU HAVE EVER HAD SURGERY, NEITHER IS DIGOXIN APPROVED, IT IS FOR WEAK HEARTS, NOR IS QUINIDINE FOR IRREGULAR HEART BEATS. I got that information directly from the FDA. The catch, the FDA said that these products were around before they started regulating certain drugs.
Note: the public was lead to believe the product was not safe. It would be almost impossible to give a patient a toxic dose at the standard dilution levels we used because one would have to give 400 syringes full and that would mean about 1000 injections, no patient would tolerate that and it would take all day to do. The average patient gets about 2-4 syringes full depending on how many areas about 5 injections per area if a patient did a maximum of 3 areas that would be a total of 15 injections. You could give 45 syringes full or about 100 injections (8 units per syringe) and still be in the safe zone . So you see it is virtually impossible to give a patient a toxic dose.
While we wanted to give Lentini a chance to tell his side of the story, WW has not independently verified his claims.
One of his former patients, Christine King of Lake Oswego, called his 18-month sentence “absolutely ridiculous.”
“Was justice served?” she says. “Absolutely not.”