Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of June 22, 2020

Virus Shut Out in packaging

Virus Shut Out lanyard in packaging

Coronavirus fraud and counterfeit news:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati, Ohio intercepted a single air shipment from China that contained counterfeit clothing, fake COVID-19 test kits, and 530 pounds of illicit drugs as well as prescription steroids, anti-anxiety drugs, and medications intended to treat COVID-19.

Agents at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois seized 240 counterfeit 3M masks on their way to a residence in Buffalo Grover.

A woman in Fayetteville, Georgia pleaded guilty to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act after she sold “Virus Shut Out” lanyards which she fraudulently claimed protected against viruses such as COVID-19. Learn more about these strange products in our most recent  COVIDscam episode.

In China, the chairman of a Beijing pharmacy chain was sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling 580,000 counterfeit 3M face masks in his stores at the height of China’s coronavirus epidemic.

ProPublica’s deep dive into a Silicon Valley pair who repackaged imported KN95 masks labeled “MEDICAL USE PROHIBITED” for sale to Texas emergency workers is a good illustration of the Wild West of medical supply chains since COVID-19.

Other Counterfeit News:

A former Norfolk, Virginia doctor received a 10-month prison sentence and $316,153 in forfeitures for approving more than 158,000 Internet pharmacy drug orders without valid prescriptions between 2007 and 2010.

Colorado Springs, Colorado father Brad Eastin spoke to Fox21News about the tragic death of his 36-year-old son, Brian, in May. El Paso County has seen a significant spike in fentanyl-related deaths since 2018.

In Seaside, California a 19-year-old was charged with selling counterfeit, fentanyl-laced pills that led to the death of 20-year-old Thomas Henderson in May.

Federal authorities in Medford, Oregon and Upton, Massachusetts charged people for possession of counterfeit fentanyl pills.

3 Pill press machines seized in NYC by the DEA

Pill press machines seized by the DEA, June 19, 2020

A man from Pass Christian, Mississippi pleaded guilty to selling fake Adderall and Percocet made with methamphetamine and fentanyl to an undercover DEA agent.

A Yakima, Washington resident received a seven-year prison sentence for selling fentanyl-laced pills.

State drug task forces in Northern Colorado, Greenville, South Carolina, and New York City dismantled large drug trafficking operations that sold counterfeit fentanyl and/or methamphetamine pills.

Federal authorities put a stop to a drug trafficking ring run from several prisons in Georgia, and seized 12,000 fentanyl pills, as well as kilogram amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl powder, heroin and marijuana.

CBP officers at the Port of Nogales in Arizona seized 260 pounds of hard narcotics, including 51 pounds of fentanyl pills.

In Scotland, two men pleaded guilty to running a high volume counterfeit pill operation with “the potential to produce 10,595,125 etizolam tablets.” Etizolam is an anti-anxiety drug sold as prescription medication in Japan, India and Italy.

Even as we are dealing with the pandemic, PSM is keeping a steady eye on public reports of dangerous counterfeit drugs. Check back for next week’s summary.