Bo and Nurista

Daniel Burke Special Agent at FDA-OCI tells Fierce Pharma about the FDA’s “Most Wanted” campaign. Effort highlights fugitives from justice for crimes ranging from posing as doctors to importing and distributing counterfeit medications. Come here Special Agent Daniel Burke speak September 18 in Washington D. C. at Interchange 2014.

In a recent interview with Fierce Pharma, Special Agent Daniel Burke, Senior Operations Manager in Charge of Cybercrime Investigations for the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations described the FDA-OCI’s new “Most Wanted” campaign.

The 11 fugitives include figures from some of the most notorious cases of drug counterfeiting, drug diversion, and medical swindles that have occurred in the United States in the last 15 years. As Special Agent Burke explained to Fierce Pharma, “Any exposure we can get to help bring these guys to justice is what we are looking for and since people in industry pay more attention there is an audience, for sure.”

The fugitives include Bo Jiang, the head of a criminal counterfeit drug importation ring that shipped fake drugs in bulk from China to Puerto Rico. Once they arrived, Jiang’s drop-shipper, Francis Ortiz Gonzalez repackaged and shipped the counterfeits into the United States. Ortiz Gonzalez was sentenced to 2 years in prison and required to pay over $300,000 in restitution for his role in the Jiang organization, according to the ICE press release from his sentencing. Jiang was a Chinese national who was a resident of New Zealand. Upon being released on bond by authorities there, he fled to an unknown location.

Another FDA-OCI fugitive on the list is Nuritsa Grigoryan, a Ukrainian national who posed as a doctor as part of a huge prescription harvesting scam discovered in Glendale, California. Grigoryan’s role in the Manor Medical Imaging scam was to pose as a doctor and fill in bogus prescriptions that had been pre-signed by a real doctor who also helped with the conspiracy, reports the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ also reports that the Manor Medical Imaging scam generated over $20 million in fraudulent Medicare billings, and exploited the poorest and most vulnerable members of society for financial gain.

Special Agent Burke explained to Fierce Pharma that the campaign was the result of brainstorming in his department to try and resolve some of the more recalcitrant fugitive cases they faced. He told Fierce Pharma, “We have some that have eluded us for quite a while, and we were trying to look out of the box.”

You can hear Special Agent Dan Burke explain some of the real dangers to patient safety posed by counterfeit medication on September 18 at Interchange 2014 in Washington D. C. Tickets are almost sold out, so register today!

By S. Imber