Tico doctor, homeopath arrested in natural medicine scam

August 29, 2013

Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) in San Isidro de Heredia, north of the capital, early Thursday morning arrested a doctor and a homeopath suspected of defrauding Costa Rican patients.

Authorities arrested both suspects as they prepared to leave their homes at 7 a.m. Thursday morning. OIJ had not yet released the names of the suspects when this article was posted.

The pair allegedly worked together to trick patients into buying unnecessary homeopathic medicine for months at a time. Patients would see the 55-year-old doctor, who would give them false diagnoses like fatty liver disease and tell them the only cure was “natural medicine.” The doctor would then send them to his accomplice, a 40-year-old female homeopath.

Rather than help the patients or simply serve as a placebo, the “natural medicine” gave patients stomach problems, including diarrhea.

The scheme aimed to get patients to continue seeing the homeopath once a month for at least a year, paying ₡20,000 per visit, roughly $40. 

Some patients became aware of the scam after consulting another physician who challenged the false diagnoses. 

OIJ reported at least nine cases of fraud stemming from the scheme. Authorities expect more cases to surface as more people come forward following these arrests.

Police also raided two private clinics in Moravia and Desmaparados, and a public one in Coronado. The doctor also had a practice in Guápiles, the OIJ told The Tico Times. OIJ agents seized a computer and documents during the raids. 

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