109th Congress Discusses the Tragic Death of Missouri Cancer Patient Given Counterfeit Drugs

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The 109th Congressional Record records discussion of the tragic cost of counterfeit medicines, including the unfortunate death of Maxine Blount of St. Lous, Missouri. Titled “Sick Crime: Counterfeit Drugs in the United States,” the report includes interviews with authorities in the field of counterfeit medicines, and the loved ones of those who suffered exposure to counterfeit medication. The counterfeiters responsible for the fakes that killed Ms. Blount were eventually caught in Florida.

Who: 109th Congress, FDA-OCI, HHS, Miami-Dade Police Department.

When: November 1, 2005; Maxine Blount’s death occurred October 24th, 2002.

Where: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA and Miami Florida, USA.

How: Joint effort of the FDA-OCI, HHS, and the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Additional details:

The life and unfortunate death of Maxine Blount after ingesting counterfeit anti-anemia medication was first recounted in a five-part series on drug counterfeiting published in the Washington Post as part of a larger series titled Pharmaceutical Roulette October 2003.  As a result of Ms. Blount’s story and those of other US citizens exposed to life-threatening counterfeits, the 109 Congress held a hearing entitled “Sick Crime: Counterfeit Drugs in the United States”, where testimony was heard from several experts  as well as relatives of those affected by counterfeit medication. 

Maxine Blount’s death spawned an investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of several fake medicine dealers in Florida.  In all, the Florida group had distributed 25,000 fake doses of the  anti-anemia drug Procrit to distributors in the US. 

As recorded in Congressional testimony on Maxine Blount’s case, there were 22 counterfeit drug incidents in the US during 2004.  In the intervening five years the  US counterfeit drug trade has grown exponentially.  In 2009, there were 199 counterfeit drug incidents in reported in the US, part of the burgeoning global trade  in counterfeit drugs.

Related sources:

Sick Crime: Counterfeit Drugs in the United States,” Congressional Record, 109th Congress. November 1, 2005.

The Fake and the Fatal: Consequenses of Counterfeits,” The Park Place Economist, Vol. XVII. 2009.

Counterfeit Drugs: A Growing Public Health Risk in Need of a Multi-factored Solution,” Paper submitted to LEDA at Harvard Law. May, 2005.

Pharmaceutical Roulette (A Series),” The Washington Post. October 19th to December 10th, 2003.

U.S. Prescription Drug System Under Attack,” The Washington Post. October 19th, 2003.

Lax System Allows Criminals To Invade the Supply Chain,” The Washington Post. October 22, 2003.

Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America’s Drug Supply,” Dangerous Doses by Kathrine Eban. 2005.