Who is the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Counterfeit Cancer Drug Scare?
In February and March 2012, the Food and Drug Administration announced fake cancer drugs had infiltrated the secure US drug supply chain. The investigation into who sold these drugs to US doctors in ongoing.
Seventy-six doctors in twenty-two states were contacted by the FDA because they may have purchased counterfeit Avastin from a "little-known drug wholesaler, Montana Healthcare Solutions," reported the Wall Street Journal.
The FDA said the fake cancer drug was the first US case invovling a counterfeit cancer drug meant to be administered in doctors' clinics, reported the Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a Winnipeg based company that is not approved to sell medicine in the United States controls the maze of subsidiaires that purchased and mailed the counterfeit medicine, including Montana Healthcare Solutions.
In February, federal prosecutors seized $1 million, 11 parcels of land, and a sports car from Paul Bottomley, who worked for Montana Healthcare. Prosecutors charge that Bottomly allegedly profited from marketing the fake Avastin to US doctors, reports WSJ.
Additionally, subpoenas have been filed in California, Montana and other states requesting information from doctors about their dealings with the Winnipeg company, reports WSJ. Ban Dune Marketing distributor, James Newcomb, has pleaded guilty for selling misbranded drugs to US doctors "on behalf of a U.K.-based trading partner," associated with the Winnipeg company, reports WSJ.
Allegedly, sales representatives faxed and called doctors from the Winnipeg headquarters, offering discounts. The fake cancer drugs were supplied by a UK wholesaler, River East, and shipped by Volunteer Distribution, in Gainesboro, TN, which was paid $10 per vial it repackaged and shipped using its U.S. return address, according to court records, reports WSJ.
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