New Mexico Oncologist Pleads Guilty to Providing Misbranded Cancer Medications to Patients

Dr. Mohamed Basel Aswad of Deming, New Mexico has admitted in court that he purchased misbranded and mislabeled cancer medication from a Canadian medication supplier.

On November 4, 2014 Dr. Mohamed Basel Aswad pleaded guilty in an Albuquerque courtroom to misdemeanor charges that he introduced misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reports in a press release.

According to the DOJ, Dr. Aswad “acknowledged that the Altuzan was ‘misbranded’ and from a foreign company not registered by the FDA.”  They report that Dr. Aswad purchased the misbranded cancer medication from a “Canadian company” and administered the imported, misbranded drugs to his patients.

According to Dr. Aswad’s plea agreement, he purchased the misbranded cancer medication from a Canadian online company called NonRX. Dr. Aswad ordered from NonRX by calling a 1-866 number.  The plea agreement states that Dr. Aswad “believed [he] was ordering from a United States-based company.”

Dr. Aswad faces three years of probation at sentencing. He is also required to pay close to $1.3 million in restitution, and another $750,000 in criminal proceeds, reports the DOJ.

This case was investigated by the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Saltman of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

Doctors can verify the authenticity of their suppliers by looking for wholesalers that are VAWD accredited.   Learn more about it here.