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Linda Marks Offers Her Views on Criminal Prosecutions and Patient Safety at Interchange 2014

Linda Marks, Senior Litigation Counsel for the Consumer Protection Branch of the Department of Justice, moderated Interchange 2014’s panel on criminal prosecutions and the patient safety issues that result from misbranded medication. In her opening remarks, she described the work the Department of Justice has done to combat counterfeit and misbranded drugs.

Linda Marks, Senior Litigation Counsel for the Consumer Protection Branch of the Department of Justice, moderated Interchange 2014’s panel on criminal prosecutions and the patient safety issues that result from misbranded medication. In her opening remarks, she described the work the Department of Justice has done to combat counterfeit and misbranded drugs.

As an introduction to Panel 2: Criminal Prosecutions: Patient Safety Ms. Marks provided updates from last year’s counterfeit and misbranded drug cases. She first described the case of counterfeit cancer medication, in this instance Altuzan (called Avastin in the U.S.), that made its way into U.S. doctors’ offices. Referring to it as the “From Turkey to Missouri case,” Ms. Marks shared how the case first began.

“This case based in Missouri started, and here is where we give kudos to the sales reps from pharma companies, because a pharma rep found that a physician in the Saint Louis area in Missouri, Doctor Abid Nisar, had stopped buying their injectable drugs. He was curious and found out from one of the office staff that the practice had started buying the drugs from an overseas [non-FDA approved] source.”

The information the pharma sales rep shared with the Department of Justice led to the eventual prosecutions of James Newcomb, Dr. Nisar, Richard Taylor, and ultimately Ozay Pharmaceuticals, as the convoluted chain of distribution was unraveled by investigators.

Ms. Marks also shared examples of the “blast faxes” that the black market cancer drug suppliers used to advertise their wares to doctors’ offices. To watch Linda Marks’ Interchange 2014 presentation on counterfeit, misbranded, and illegally diverted medication criminal prosecutions that have occurred, click here, or see below. To take a look through Ms. Mark’s slide presentation, click here.

By S. Imber

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