UK Citizen Convicted of Supplying $4 Million Worth of Fake Cancer Drugs, Sentenced to 18 Months in Jail

On July 11 in Saint Louis, a British citizen was convicted of distributing counterfeit Avastin, sentenced to jail and asked to forfeit close to $4 million in counterfeit drug profits.

Richard J. Taylor, a British citizen, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail and required to forfeit almost $4 million in ill-gotten gains from his drug supply business, reports the Department of Justice (DOJ). Taylor’s business operation, Richard’s Pharma, was one of the suppliers responsible for the infiltration of counterfeit Avastin into the US secure drug supply chain. Richard’s Pharma was first identified as a source of the counterfeit Avastin in a safety alert posted by the FDA on April 3, 2012, noting “Medical practices obtained the counterfeit Altuzan and other unapproved products through foreign sources, in particular from Richards Pharma, also known as Richards Services, Warwick Healthcare Solutions, or Ban Dune Marketing Inc (BDMI). Many, if not all, of the products sold and distributed through this distributor have not been approved by the FDA.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Taylor was unconcerned about the counterfeit nature of the drugs he was selling. John Roth, Director of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, wrote on the FDA’s blog, “Taylor didn’t care about the law or the patients he was short-changing. He certainly knew what was happening to them. On May 10, 2011, Taylor was notified that two patients “who had been on Avastin for a while started to shake in the middle of being transfused and had to be disconnected from treatment.” A nurse advised that she had been administering such cancer drugs for years and had never seen a patient react like this before.”

The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Taylor’s response to the report of adverse reactions to the drugs was to continue to distribute the fake cancer drugs, and simply raise his prices.

Taylor’s business, Richard’s Pharma has been identified by the FDA as one of the suppliers of counterfeit cancer drugs distributed by Ban Dune Marketing of La Jolla. Dr. Abid S. Nisar, an oncologist practicing in Saint Louis was named in the FDA sentencing press release as one of Taylor’s customers for counterfeit drugs. Dr. Nisar pled guilty to charges of distributing and receiving misbranded and adulterated prescription drugs in February 2012. Dr. Nisar purchased his misbranded cancer drugs from Ban Dune Marketing of La Jolla, a medical distribution company owned by James R. Newcomb, reported the FDA.

James R. Newcomb pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute adulterated prescription drugs to physicians in the United States, via his company Ban Dune Marketing, and was sentenced to 24 months in prison on August 23rd, 2012, reported the FDA.

Taylor’s UK-based company is also linked to Canada Drugs subsidiary, River East Supplies, reports the Wall Street Journal. River East Supplies is identified by the Department of Justice as the UK supplier which provided convicted counterfeit drug distributor Paul Bottomley with the fake cancer drugs he then sold via Montana Healthcare Solutions to cancer doctors all over the country. Paul Bottomley pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony on April 24th, 2013, reports the DOJ. Bottomley was sentenced to six months of house arrest, and five years of house arrest after surrendering approximately $4.5 million in cash and property from the business, reports ABC News.

By S. Imber