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Man peddling vitamins as cancer therapy faces 5 felony counts

Man peddling vitamins as cancer therapy faces 5 felony counts

A man in California is facing five felony charges for allegedly posing as a licensed doctor while providing unproven medical treatments—including ones he claimed could treat cancer—to thousands of people over several years.

In a news release this week, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced charges against Stephan Gevorkian, who operated a business called “Pathways Medical” in Toluca Lake, near North Hollywood, since 2017.

Gevorkian allegedly posed as a medical doctor, despite apparently not holding a medical license of any kind in California, not even as a naturopath. Many patient testimonials on the business’s website and Google reviews appear to refer to Gevorkian as “Dr. G”

“Practicing medicine without a license is not only a criminal activity in California, it can cause irreparable harm to the health of unsuspecting people, some with serious illnesses, who believe they are under the care of a licensed physician,” Gascón said in the news release.

But “Dr. G” wasn’t offering standard, evidence-based medicine with his allegedly phony title. Pathways’ offerings were a short list of unproven, goop-esque wellness fads, mainly IV vitamin treatments, as well as ozone therapies and electro-acuscope therapy (which involves applying low voltage current to tissue). And Gevorkian made bold medical claims about all of them.

Bold claims

Pathways’ website is currently blocked with a message saying it’s “Under Construction.” But, an Internet Archive capture from March 8, 2023, shows several IV vitamin drip therapies offered, with claims such as “alternative cancer therapy,” “improves depression,” “prevents viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections,” “treats anemia,” and “assists with addiction recovery.”

The electro-acuscope treatment is said to regenerate injured tissue and treat “neuro-musculoskeletal disorders, both chronic and acute.” The ozone therapies, meanwhile, can treat “gynecological issues such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and vaginitis,” plus slow aging, reduce wrinkles, and turn fat into muscle.

Gevorkian wrote on the site’s homepage that “our medical experts saw a gap in the field of modern medicine, with patients being overly prescribed pills and drugs yet ignoring the simple yet effective benefits of IV Vitamin therapy.” It’s unclear who the medical experts are. The website does not appear to list any staff or medical advisors. On business filings with the state, Gevorkian is listed as the CEO, CFO, director, and secretary of Pathway’s executive board.

Part of the sales pitch includes noting that vitamins delivered intravenously offer “100% Absorption,” while only 10 percent of supplements are absorbed via the standard route. Nevertheless, in case you’re still interested in non-IV vitamins, Pathways also sells its own selection of branded vitamins and supplement pills.

The site claims that these miraculous-sounding vitamin treatments have “attracted clientele from all walks of life, including high profile celebrities and executives.” Last November, they also attracted an undercover state investigator, who got a consultation with Gevorkian. According to the district attorney’s news release:

The business conducts blood tests on patients, advises them on treatments and offers treatment for serious conditions including cancer and viral infections. In the consultation, Gevorkian allegedly failed to accurately address abnormal levels of a hormone that could indicate a serious medical condition.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Gevorkian’s attorney, Justin E. Sterling, denied the allegations and said Gevorkian “looks forward to vigorously defending himself.”

“It’s important to acknowledge that what is thought to be known or understood early on is not always the case in the end,” Sterling’s statement read. “Any suggestion that Mr. Gevorkian was impersonating a doctor in an effort to treat unsuspecting patients is demonstrably false.”

It’s unclear what Gevorkian’s defense is exactly. The LA Times noted that Sterling did not respond to follow-up questions about the defense. Internet searches into Gevorkian’s background did not immediately turn up anything to substantiate a medical background. An article in a wedding magazine appears to feature Gevorkian’s 2012 Hollywood wedding to a professional Latin ballroom dancer. The article states that he is “a doctor specializing in trauma surgery.”

Gevorkian’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 24.

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