FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A doctor who's recovering from botulism poisoning rolled a walker into court Monday to face fraud charges for allegedly buying and selling the raw toxin in place of the wrinkle treatment Botox (search).
Bach McComb is accused of paralyzing himself and three others by injecting a potent, unapproved form of the botulism poison at an Oakland Park (search) clinic last November instead of the costlier licensed drug.
McComb went to New Jersey (search) for Thanksgiving and was hospitalized there, then returned to South Florida to face the federal indictment.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer agreed to allow McComb to remain free on $200,000 bail while undergoing rehabilitation.
"He'll make nearly a full recovery, at least we hope so," defense attorney Pepe Herrera said. He had no comment on the criminal charges but said, "Dr. McComb has never had an opportunity to provide an explanation to anybody."
McComb is charged along with two Arizona doctors with running a national network that sold 3,081 vials of a knockoff wrinkle treatment for $1.5 million to doctors and clinics nationally.
A California research toxin manufacturer, which has not been charged, supplied both the Arizona doctors and McComb's clinic with botulism, federal investigators allege.
The botulism sent to Arizona was at a level equivalent to Botox. Investigators believe the freeze-dried version sent to the clinic was 10 times stronger when McComb injected it.
Prosecutor Robin Rosenbaum estimated McComb faces up to about five years in prison if convicted of drug misbranding, fraud and conspiracy charges. Arraignment was set for April 1.