Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of July 6, 2020

Bottle of "Miracle Mineral Solution"

"Miracle Mineral Solution," a dangerous treatment made of bleach. Source: FDA

Photo of Brit covidscammer Frank Ludlow's basement

Police raided Frank Ludlow's workspace in March 2020. Source: City of London Police

Coronavirus fraud and counterfeit news:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against for fraudulently promising next-day shipping of personal protective equipment (PPE) and warned San Francisco-based Revival Hydration to stop claiming its vitamin-infused IV treatments would protect against COVID-19. The agency also sent warnings about “blessed water,” essential oils and tinctures, molasses cough syrup, and nasal gel. The FTC estimates that U.S. residents have lost more than $77 million in fraud related to Covid-19.

Federal prosecutors charged four members of a family in Bradenton, Florida  with selling “Miracle Mineral Solution,” a product made of bleach, to drink as a cure-all for COVID-19. The FDA reports that consuming MMS has caused hospitalizations and deaths.

The Wisconsin Attorney General warned residents about ongoing COVID-19 contact tracing scams.

Researchers in Georgia State University’s Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group (EBCS) have received National Science Foundation funding to examine threats related to the sale of critical COVID-19 supplies via darknet markets.

In England, Frank Ludlow has pleaded guilty to selling fake remedies he was newly marketing as COVID-19 treatments to residents of the U.S. and France.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released a research brief warning that organized crime will move from trafficking of counterfeit PPE to fake COVID-19 treatments and vaccines as real treatments and vaccines emerge.

Other Counterfeit News:

Amazon has launched a new crimes unit to control the sale of counterfeit items, among them PPE and other medical products, on its third party seller platform.

A federal judge in western Pennsylvania sentenced an Indian businessman to time-served and  three-years probation for illegally importing controlled prescription drugs from India for online sale to U.S. residents between 2015 and 2019. Jeetendra Harish Belani will also pay a $100,000 fine and be deported to India.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Cincinnati, Ohio announced that they intercepted 15,750 illegally imported Xanax pills on their way from the United Kingdom to Texas on June 30th.

Prescott Valley, Arizona police issued a warning about a spike in overdoses, some of which were caused by counterfeit oxycodone pills.

Law enforcement in Mauldin, South Carolina shut down a pill press operation that allegedly produced counterfeit pills made of heroin and fentanyl. Police also arrested drug traffickers for allegedly selling counterfeit pills in Prescott, Arizona.

Jenna Defelice of New Haven, Connecticut pleaded guilty to the possession and distribution of controlled substances, including crack, heroin and hundreds of counterfeit oxycodone pills.

A box of smuggled bottles of Xanax

Smuggled Xanax confiscated by CBP on its way from the UK to Texas. Source: CBP

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.