The 2012 fake Avastin warnings were just the tip of the iceberg for what is now unfolding into one of the most convoluted counterfeit medication incidents that has ever been uncovered. The supply of fake cancer medication has been traced to Internet pharmacy giant CanadaDrugs and in the last year, 4 doctors have been prosecuted for purchasing fake cancer injectable medications from CanadaDrugs shell companies.
The indictment unsealed at the end of 2015 against CanadaDrugs accuses the Internet pharmacy of being the source of the counterfeit Avastin discovered, in 2012. When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first posted a public warning about the fake cancer medication, they also sent warning letters to doctors all over the United States who may have purchased the fake cancer drugs, identifying Quality Specialty Products (QSP), Montana Healthcare Solutions, and others as the suppliers. Now as the wheels of justice are turning, the Department of Justice is prosecuting doctors who they have accused of administering fake cancer drugs to their unsuspecting patients.
Dr. Mohamad Ayman Ghraowi – Texas
According to the FDA, Dr. Ghraowi had a successful oncology treatment center in Corpus Christi, Texas. However, as a result making repeated purchases from CanadaDrugs subsidiary Montana Healthcare Solutions, Dr. Ghraowi ended up pleading guilty to charges last April that he purchased over $900,000 worth of misbranded prescription cancer drugs for treatment of his patients. This past October, the Courthouse News Service reported that Dr. Ghraowi had filed suit against the CanadaDrugs subsidiary for destroying his business and career.
Dr. Robert L. Carter – Missouri
On July 15, 2015, the Joplin-area oncologist was sentenced to 5 years of probation and to over a million in restitution and fines for purchasing non-FDA approved medications from CanadaDrugs subsidiary QSP, reports the FDA. According to the FDA, the drugs Carter purchased from QSP had foreign-language labels, and were missing use instructions and RX-only labeling.
Dr. Ali Ben-Jacob – Utah
Dr. Ben-Jacob pleaded guilty in April 2015 to importing misbranded cancer medication from CanadaDrugs subsidiary QSP, reports the FDA. His Cache Valley Cancer Treatment and Research Clinic also pleaded guilty to purchasing the fake cancer drugs. According to the FDA, Dr. Ben-Jacob purchased many different cancer drugs from QSP, none of which were FDA-approved.
Dr. Anda Norbergs – Florida
According to the FDA, Dr. Norbergs was charged on June 4, 2015, with 9 counts of receiving misbranded drugs in interstate commerce, and 12 counts of healthcare fraud. She is alleged to have repeatedly ordered oncology medication from CanadaDrugs subsidiary, QSP. The FDA also alleges that patients at Norbergs’ East Lake Oncology Clinic were treated with the fake cancer drugs purchased from QSP. Norbergs is then alleged to have collected reimbursements Medicare and other entities for the cost of genuine medication she pretended to administer.
Patient safety is good for business in a medical practice. Learn how to protect your medical practice and your patients from the damage fake medication can do. Read “Protect Your Patients, Your Practice and Yourself.”
By S. Imber