Regulatory Action against Michael Loquasto, D.C. (1993)

Stephen Barrett, M.D.


In 1986 the FDA issued warning letters to five companies that were marketing "oral chelation" products that supposedly could prevent or treat circulatory disorders. Shortly after the letters were issued, the Allentown Morning Call published a story in which chiropractor Michael Loquasto, whose picture and endorsement had appeared in promotional material for a product called Life Flow, said that about half of his patients used such products and that he planned to keep prescribing them. At that time, Loquasto operated the Clinic of Hope with an affiliated health food store and restaurant in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. In about 1985, Loquasto self-published a 176-page book called Healing Power of Natural HealthCare: A Physician's Drugless Answer to Common and Incurable Health Problems. The Pennsylvania State Board of Chiropractic apparently became concerned about his activities because in 1993, it obtained a consent agreement (shown below) that addressed claims that (a) his clinic specialized in the treatment of "so-called incurable diseases," (b) over 90% of his patients were cured, and (c) the oral chelation formula he used had great success in reversing hardening of the arteries. The consent agreement required him to (a) pay a $15,000 penalty, (b) make sure that all of his literature, videotapes, or public communications pertaining to his chiropractic services comply with the Board's rules and regulations, and (c) change or modify the name "Clinic of Hope" and any representations related to this name to ensure that they do not conflict with the rules or guarantee that a cure will result from chiropractic treatment.


COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BUREAU OF OCCUPATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL AFFAIRS

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
State Board of Chiropractic

vs.

Michael J. Loquasto, D.C,
Respondent

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No. 0427-43-91
File No. 90-43-01633

CONSENT AGREEMENT

The participants stipulate to the following in settlement of the above-captioned matter.

1. The state Board of Chiropractic ("Board.") is a departmental and administrative board of the Department of state, Bureau of Professional and occupational Affairs, with the power to, inter alia, revoke, suspend, restrict and limit licenses, administer public reprimands, levy civil penalties and regulate the practice of chiropractic in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in accordance with the Chiropractic Practice Act, the Act of December 16, 1986, P.L, 1646 ("Act"), 63 P.S. §625.601 et seq.

2. At all times relevant and material hereto, Respondent held license number DC-001064-L and certificate number AJ-001064-P issued by the Board enabling Respondent to practice chiropractic inclusive· of adjunctive procedures in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

3. At all times relevant and material hereto, Respondent's office or principal place of business and address on file with the Board is "Clinic of Hope," P.O. Box 1187, Marshalls Creek, PA 18335.

4. Respondent's license expired on December 1, 1990 and was not renewed until May 13, 1991.

5 . Respondent's license is now current until September 1, 1994.

6. At all times relevant and material hereto, Respondent was not licensed with the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine and the Pennsylvania Board of osteopathic Medicine.

7. The participants stipulate to the following additional facts:

a. On or about January 14, 1988 and again on November 7, 1990, Respondent sold and/or distributed the book or pamphlet entitled ''Healing Power of Natural Healthcare/A Physician's Drugless Answer to Common and Incurable Health Problems" ("Book"). A true and correct copy of the Book is appended as "Exhibit A."

b. Respondent is the author of the Book.

c. On or about January 13, 1988, Respondent disseminated or had disseminated brochures or information sheets concerning the "Clinic of Hope" that contained, inter alia, the following representations:

1) That his clinic specializes in the treatment of "so-called incurable diseases.''

2) That natural healing of the body is nature's way of overcoming every single disease known to man because such a disease is related to the disturbance in one's own chemical imbalance.

3) That 90 per cent of all the patients seen at Respondent's clinic get cured, regardless of what their problems are so long as they follow the regimen that is set forth for them.

4) That Respondent is using a nutritional formula (oral chelation) with great success to reverse hardening of the arteries. A true and correct copy of the brochure is appended as "Exhibit B."

d. On or about November 7, 1990 and February 16, 1999, Respondent sold or distributed the videotape entitled "Why Exams?" from his office or principal place of business which memorializes Respondent's lecture to an audience.

e. On or about August 5, 1988 and November 7, 1990, Respondent sold or distributed the videotape entitled "Chiropractic and Children" from his office or principal place of business which memorializes Respondent's lecture to an audience.

f. On or about January 13, 1988 and November 7, 1990, Respondent sold or distributed the videotape entitled "Heart and Circulation" from his office or principal place of business which memorializes Respondent's lecture to an audience.

g. The three enumerated videotapes contain many of the representations contained in Respondent's Book ("Exhibit A") and Respondent's brochure ("Exhibit B").

h. This case is not based on any patient complaint.

i. Respondent was not charged with specific and identifiable instances of patient harm in this case. The participants stipulate that no harm was caused to a Bureau undercover investigator who conducted an investigation.

8. The participants consent to the issuance of the following order in settlement of this case:

a. That the appended Consent Agreement is adopted and incorporated herein.

b. That the Board finds that grounds for disciplinary action or corrective measures exist pursuant to the Act at 63 P.S. §625.506(a)(2) (pertaining to misleading representations in the practice of chiropractic). This also constitutes grounds for civil penalties in accordance with the Act at 63 P.S. §625.703.

c. That the Board does not make any findings regarding the use of oral chelation, notwithstanding any representations regarding its effectiveness, as constituting grounds for disciplinary action or corrective measures pursuant to the Act in this case.

d. That a civil penalty of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) is levied upon Respondent. Payment of the civil penalty shall be as follows:

1) A payment of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) was made at the time of Respondent's execution of the appended Consent Agreement.

2) That the remaining ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) shall be paid by certified check, cashier's check, attorney's check or money order made payable to "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" no later than thirty (30) days after Board adoption of the Consent Agreement. Respondent shall forward this civil penalty to the Bureau's monitoring officer enumerated below.

e. That Respondent shall, within sixty (60) days, correct all brochures, pamphlets, literature, videotapes, or public communications pertaining to. chiropractic services he renders or can render to patients so that the aforementioned comply with the Act and the Board's Rules and Regulations.

f. That Respondent shall change or modify the name "Clinic of Hope" and any representations related to this name within sixty (60) days to ensure that the name of his practice does not conflict with the Act, the Board's Rules and Regulations or otherwise guarantee that a cure will result from the performance of chiropractic treatment.

g. That Respondent shall comply with the Act and the Board's Rules and Regulations.

h. That Respondent shall comply with all of the following terms for a period of two (2) years from the date of Board adoption of the Consent Agreement:

1) That Respondent shall fully and unhesitatingly cooperate with the Prosecuting Attorney, representatives of the Board and agents of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs to ensure his compliance with this order.

2) That Respondent shall provide any and all books, brochures, videotapes, and any other public media advertising or representations to the Prosecuting Attorney, representatives of the Board or agents of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs upon request. Respondent shall not charge the aforementioned entities or individuals for the cost of these items.

3) That Respondent shall meet or discuss his practice with the Prosecuting Attorney for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, representatives of the Board or agents of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Law Enforcement Division ("Bureau"), within a reasonable time after a request is made, to discuss any questions that the aforementioned have regarding Respondent's practice and the items enumerated in paragraph h.2). The meetings may take place pursuant to telephone conversations. Respondent shall also submit written answers to inquiries concerning his compliance with this Order within a reasonable time (at most twenty (20) days, unless otherwise allowed) after a request is made by the Prosecuting Attorney, representatives of the Board or agents of the Bureau.

i. Respondent's falsification or causing the falsification of any information provided in accordance with this Order shall constitute a violation of this Order.

j. Respondent shall submit any information requested pursuant to this Order, except as otherwise directed, to the following individual or her successor who shall be deemed as the Bureau's monitoring officer:

Gina Bittner
Law Enforcement Division
Bureau of Professional and occupational Affairs
P. O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
(717) 787-8503

k. That Respondent shall pay all the costs that he incurs in complying with the terms of this Order.

1. That a violation of this Order, inclusive of failing to make timely payment of the ten thousand dollar ($10,000.00) civil penalty, shall constitute grounds for additional disciplinary and civil penalties for the violations and the provisions of the Consent Agreement in accordance with the Act at 63 P.S. §§625.506(a) (9), 625.506(b) and 625.703. Provided, however, that Respondent shall have the right of notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with the Act at 63 P.S. §625.506(c). It is further ordered that at any proceeding pertaining to a violation of this Order, this Consent Agreement and order shall be deemed admitted and uncontested.

m. That nothing in this Order shall preclude or estop the Prosecuting Attorney from filing additional disciplinary charges for violations of the Act and the Board's Rules and Regulations not contained in this Consent Agreement and the Order to Show Cause issued in this matter. It is further ordered that nothing in this Order shall preclude or· estop the Board from levying additional disciplinary sanctions and civil penalties for facts and violations not contained in the consent Agreement and the Order to Show Cause issued in this matter.

n. That this case shall be deemed settled and discontinued pursuant to the terms of this Order immediately upon Board adoption of the consent Agreement.

o. That the Order shall take effect immediately upon Board adoption of the consent Agreement.

9. Respondent shall tender five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) of the civil penalty to the Prosecuting Attorney with the executed consent Agreement and this shall be paid by certified check, cashier's check, attorney's check or money order made payable to "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

10. Respondent received service of the Order to Show cause containing notice of the allegations against him and his right to be heard.

11. Respondent knowingly and voluntarily waives a stenographically recorded administrative hearing at which he may be represented by an attorney, present evidence, challenge evidence and cross-examine witnesses. Respondent also knowingly and voluntarily waives his right to submit legal briefs and to appeal the final disciplinary order.

12. Should this joint Consent Agreement not be accepted by the Board, it is agreed that presentation to and consideration of this Consent Agreement, the draft order and other documents and matters by the Board shall not unfairly or illegally prejudice the Board or any of its members from further participation, consideration or resolution of these proceedings.

13. This Consent Agreement is between the Prosecuting Attorney and the Respondent only and is to have no legal effect unless and until the Board issues an Order adopting it and the Office of General Counsel approves the contents of the Consent Agreement and Board's order as to form and legality.

14. The Respondent verifies that he read and understands the contents of the Consent Agreement and Order and that the facts contained herein are true and correct to the best of his knowledge, information and belief. Respondent understands that false statements constitute grounds for criminal penalties in accordance with 18 Pa. C.S. §4904 relating to unsworn falsifications to authorities.

_____________________ 11/18/93
James A. Holzman
Prosecuting Attorney
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Bureau of Professional and
Occupational Affairs

_________________________ 11/16/93
Michael J. Loquasto
Respondent

_________________________ 11/9/93
Richard A. Jaffe
Attorney for Respondent

This article was posted on December 24, 2016.

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