Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of August 17, 2020

Coronavirus Fraud And Counterfeits:

New resource: In June, PSM reviewed the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's important report, Rogue Online Pharmacies in the Time of Pandemic: Capitalizing on Misinformation and Fear. This week we issued an infographic summary: download and read it here.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to recall toxic hand sanitizers that contain methanol, and now 1-propanol, which can cause death by central nervous system depression if ingested. Please make certain that your hand sanitizer is not on the FDA’s recall list.

Officials in Florida, Iowa, New York and Texas issued warnings about fake contact tracers trying to collect personal or financial information from residents. A real contact tracer will never ask for payment or financial information. Learn more.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Seattle reported that it had seized eight shipments of unauthorized influenza treatments being marketed to treat COVID-19 since July 1.

Pennsylvania’s attorney general is suing M&B Multiservices Inc. for price-gouging. The Philadelphia-based company sold at least 83 eight-ounce bottles of Purell hand sanitizer for between $65 and $76 dollars each., an online database that tracks the theft of medicine and medical equipment from healthcare settings, has begun recording thefts related to COVID-19.

Other Counterfeit News:


Three New York residents pleaded guilty to creating a series of front companies and fake websites to deceive credit card companies into processing tens of millions of dollars in payments for medicines illegally imported from China, Russia and India. Two additional men pleaded guilty for their parts in the payment scheme in 2018.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has charged two Washington residents–one in Federal Way and another in Des Moines–and a former U.S. Navy sailor for allegedly selling the counterfeit Percocet pills made with fentanyl that killed a second sailor aboard a ship at the Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton in April 2020.

Three Bellingham, Washington residents were arrested for allegedly distributing the counterfeit fentanyl pills that killed an unnamed 31-year-old man in March 2020.

The Washoe County, Nevada Sheriff’s Office arrested an Arizona man who allegedly sold 5,000 fentanyl pills to undercover officers.

Payson, Arizona police seized 2,200 fentanyl pills and arrested two during a traffic stop.


Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking in Prescott, Arizona warned that they had discovered counterfeit fentanyl pills made to look like oxycodone, Xanax and, more unusually, baby aspirin and metformin.

Federal authorities warned Iowans that counterfeit Adderall made of meth is circulating in the state.

Louisiana’s Attorney General published an editorial warning residents about the problem of counterfeit pills at Louisiana universities.


A family in Trumbull, Connecticut spoke about their son, Jake Beddoe, who died after unknowingly taking a quarter of a Xanax pill laced with fentanyl.

A 14-year-old in Hermosa Beach, California who died unexpectedly is also suspected to have taken a counterfeit fentanyl pill.

Fake Adderall pills made of methamphetamine been found in California, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, and Texas since 2018. Watch our news of the week to learn more.

Mimic pills laced with fentanyl. The pills are made to look like baby aspirin, oxycodone, Xanax and metformin, but are in fact only mimic pills laced with fentanyl. (Source: PANT via The Daily Courier)

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.