Chesco surgeon fired for allegedly prescribing fake COVID-19 drugs at Italian restaurant

A Chester County surgeon has been fired by Tower Health after allegations she prescribed two drugs to COVID-19 patients that the FDA has warned are ineffective and possibly dangerous.

Dr. Edith D. Behr was fired Thursday from her job at Phoenixville Hospital, Tower announced Thursday.

The allegations, which have been circulating for the past few weeks on social media, claim that Behr had worked with a restaurant owner in Lebanon County to prescribe the two drugs, which are not approved for the treatment of COVID.

In videos posted to Facebook, Christine Mason, identified as the daughter of the owner of Taste of Sicily, talks about a doctor who is “no joke” and working to help people with COVID-19. Mason does not specify which drugs, but calls them “I” and “H”.

In a statement Thursday, Tower Health said it “yesterday became aware of allegations involving Dr. Edith Behr prescribing ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19” and terminated her, effective immediate.

Behr did not respond to a request for comment. Mason declined to be interviewed.

Behr graduated from the old Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 37 years ago and is licensed as a surgeon by the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine.

On his Facebook page, Behr shared memes promoting anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, including debunked claims that vaccines had caused a serious risk of a heart condition known as myocarditis in younger patients.

Behr also lists itself on Facebook as an “affiliate brand” of Neora, a company that produces dietary supplements and anti-aging products that has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for being a pyramid scheme. Under the name “DelmiMD”, she hawked self-help books and private life coaching sessions.

Court records show that in 2016, the Internal Revenue Service and the state of Pennsylvania sued Behr for tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes. A federal tax lien was assessed in 2015 for $41,430 and released in 2017. A state tax lien totaling $16,864 was assessed in 2016 and listed as satisfied in 2020.

The FDA has warned against treating COVID-19 patients with either Ivermectinwhich is approved for intestinal parasites in humans and horses, and hydroxychloroquinean antimalarial drug for lupus.

The FDA issued a safety issue, warning that COVID-19 patients who took hydroxychloroquine showed “serious heart rhythm problems” and warned medical professionals about the risks of the drug. The FDA also noted that ivermectin has not been shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 and that large doses of the drug are dangerous.

In a 2022 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was estimated that “health plans paid $2.5 million for ivermectin prescriptions related to COVID-19in August 2021. The study went on to say that over a year, those expenses could exceed $129 million.

Prosecutors from the Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that they have investigated multiple complaints against the Taste of Sicily in Palmyra. They passed the case on to state officials because the incidents and complaints are coming from multiple counties, Lebanon County Prosecutor Pier Hess Graf said.

“I spoke with the AG office on Tuesday; they are aware of the issue,” she said.

Meanwhile, on Facebook videos, Mason is still touting the drug’s success and wants to “keep helping the people” who reach out to him.

She says she consulted her lawyer, she is doing nothing wrong and she is not worried about the investigation.

A recent video on the Taste of Sicily page got over 600 reactions, including over 500 hearts and likes.

“Prayers and we support you! Thank you for all that you continue to do! Keep fighting!!” commenter Vicki Tyson said.

Hundreds of similar comments appear on Mason’s videos

“In case there is a stroke of luck and something happens, listen, don’t pity me, don’t feel bad for me. I want one thing from you guys and it’s prayers,” Mason said in a recent video on the Taste of Sicily page.

News researcher Ryan W. Briggs contributed to this article.

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