State fines Bellingham naturopathic doctor, dentist for violations

A Bellingham naturopathic doctor has been fined $5,000 for prescribing controlled substances that weren’t allowed under his license, the state Department of Health announced this week.

The fine was part of the agreement the state Naturopathy Board reached in July with V. Joseph Wessels Jr. in a case that grew from a state and Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, which found that he wrote more than 400 prescriptions beyond the scope of his naturopathic practice.

He did so from November 2011 through June 2014, according to the state.

The state limits the controlled substances a naturopath can prescribe to codeine and testosterone products found in what’s known as Schedule 3 through Schedule 5 drugs, state and federal authorities said.

Wessels was prescribing other controlled substances, although the state and DEA didn’t specify what they were.

He also surrendered his DEA registration, which allowed him to prescribe Schedule 3 through Schedule 5 drugs.

The Naturopathy Board also reprimanded Wessels and limited his prescribing authority. His practice will be monitored for at least three years as well.

In a separate case, the state fined Bellingham dentist Faith R. Bult $5,000 for injecting Botox and filler treatments into patients’ faces solely for cosmetic reasons.

The Dental Commission reached the agreement with Bult in July. It also said Bult didn’t meet the standard of care for one dental patient, and kept inadequate records.

In addition to the $5,000, she is required to reimburse the commission $2,000 for expenses related to her investigation and to complete continuing education in record-keeping and risk management.

Her case grew from a complaint in March 2013 that Bult was advertising Botox and dermal fillers for cosmetic purposes through the radio and her website.

The service remained on her website. A state Department of Health spokeswoman said Bult could continue to provide the service as long as it was dental-related.

Officials were satisfied, for now, that she was in compliance, although they will check when auditing her practice.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea