Counterfeiters peddling drugs through an online pharmacy killed an American ExPat in Canada

Marcia Bergeron died because her medicine contained heavy metals. Photo: National Review of Medicine

Glenda Billerbeck, visiting British Columbia for Christmas, said goodbye to her fellow Iowan, Marcia Bergeron, not knowing the flu she thought her friend had was actually heavy metal poisoning which would kill her.

Marcia Bergeron died in December 2006 from heavy metal poisoning caused by the prescription medications she had purchased from a fake online pharmacy. Friends and family were shocked, because Marcia’s health was robust, and she thought she was suffering from the common flu.

Canadian authorities, too, found the death suspicious. "We had no reasonable cause of death," Vancouver Island regional coroner Rose Stanton told the National Review of Medicine, "and she was of an age where sudden death might not be expected." The coroner’s report determined that Bergeron died of cardiac arrhythmia caused by metal toxicity: she was poisoned to death by the counterfeit medications she purchased from an unlicensed online pharmacy.

Bergeron was no internet neophyte: a resident of a remote island in Canada, she did most of her major shopping online, and her purchase of medication was no different. It was convenient for her in her remote location.

The site she purchased them from “looked legal to her,” said Billerbeck. “But they were drugs that were shipped from overseas...They had high levels of lead in them, titanium, arsenic, so they’re all tainted and counterfeit drugs, and that is what killed her.”

The coroner said the site looked reputable and that anybody would have ordered from it, and that the box of pills looked legitimate as well.

“The people behind these rogue websites are people without a conscience. They’re simply murderers and they killed my friend. They don’t have a conscience, they’re there for the money,” said Billerbeck sadly.

Iowan Glenda Billerbeck speaks about her friend Marcia, who died of heavy metal poisoning after a fake online pharmacy sold her counterfeit medicine.