Pakistani “Brad Pitt” Indicted in 2012 on Counterfeit Drug Charges Finally Sentenced

Indicted in absentia in 2012, Junaid Qadir, part owner of a clandestine medication importer based in Pakistan has finally been forced to face U.S. justice.

Junaid Qadir, a principal in a family-owned pharmaceutical business in Karachi, Pakistan, has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for his role in the illegal importation and sale of counterfeit and misbranded medication to Internet pharmacies serving U.S. consumers, the Denver Post reports. Using the pseudonym “Brad Pitt,” Qadir sold illegally imported medications as if they had been manufactured in the United States.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Qadir originally faced counterfeit drug charges in 2012. In 2015, a superseding indictment was filed once Qadir travelled to Germany and was apprehended by authorities there.

The FDA reports that Qadir made his first appearance in U.S. court in January 2016 to face “…multiple charges of illegal importation and sale of misbranded and unapproved drugs, some of which are further alleged to have been counterfeit or controlled substances, and all of which were manufactured overseas and shipped to the United States.”

During his initial court appearance, the FDA noted, “As part of the conspiracy, the defendants, using a series of email addresses, would forward the drug orders to a network of drug suppliers in Pakistan, India, the United Kingdom, and China. Some would obtain stockpiles of the drugs being ordered and, from these stockpiles or from the suppliers directly, would cause the orders to be filled by shipments through the international mail to or on behalf of their customers. With respect to some of the drug shipments ultimately intended for United States recipients, the defendants would alternatively employ a network of individuals located in the United States to receive the imported drugs and re-ship them to the ultimate customers within the United States once the drugs had been safely imported.”

According to the FDA, Qadir and JNS Impex avoided detection by concealing the drugs in “loose format, in plastic water bottles,” and shipped the drugs with either no customs declarations, or “custom declarations that inaccurately or misleadingly described the contents of the shipments.”

The Denver Post reports that the 17½ months Qadir served in German prison while awaiting extradition will count towards his sentence. He will serve approximately 4 months in a U.S. prison before being deported to Pakistan.

Homeland Security Investigations, Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated this case.
By S. Imber