Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of August 24, 2020

Coronavirus Fraud And Counterfeits:

U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey, Don Beyer of Virginia and Katie Porter of California called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect the American people from unproven treatments for COVID-19.

The FDA warned that flavored hand sanitizers and sanitizers packaged in food and drink containers posed a risk to consumers—especially children—who might accidentally consume them. FDA also published a guide to check the safety of your hand sanitizer.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned Vermont residents about scammers targeting people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Articles about COVID-19 scams also appeared in Nevada and New Mexico. Learn more about how to spot such scams.

A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research identified nearly 2,000 social media postings linked to fake Covid-19 health products, financial scams, and other consumer risks between March and May 2020.

The Georgia Department of Public Health issued a warning after receiving reports of residents drinking diluted chlorine dioxide as a COVID-19 treatment. This is one of many fake treatments that Georgia State University has been tracking on the dark web.

Federal courts sentenced a Gresham, Oregon resident to two years probation for illegally importing chloroquine powder from China with the intent to sell it as a COVID-19 treatment. The FDA revoked its emergency use authorization for the malaria drug as a COVID-19 treatment in June 2020, when it showed no benefit in clinical trials. Chloroquine can cause serious heart rhythm problems, blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver failure.

The FDA issued a warning about hand sanitizers being sold in food and beverage containers on August 27, 2020.

Check the FDA's search guide to determine whether your hand sanitizer is safe.

Other Counterfeit News:

Federal courts in the Northern District of Alabama indicted a Hoover resident for manufacturing and selling suppositories he fraudulently claimed would treat cancer using a peptide he had illegally imported from China.

Federal courts in South Carolina sentenced nine South Carolina residents for their roles in a fentanyl pill manufacturing and distribution ring that was broken up in 2019.

In Lewis County, Washington, Adam Collier of Scottsdale, Arizona man pleaded guilty to possession of 26,000 fentanyl pills and 1,000 grams of heroin with intent to deliver. Collier and two other people were arrested with the pills in Chehalis in July.

The Drug Enforcement Administration warned San Antonio, Texas students about the misuse of Adderall as a “study drug,” citing, among other things, the danger of counterfeit pills made with methamphetamine. Fake Adderall made with meth is a growing problem in the U.S. Learn more in our News of the Week video for August 17.

Counterfeit Aleve pills confiscated by Doylestown, Ohio Police contained fentanyl. (Source: Doylestown Police)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Cincinnati, Ohio seized six shipments of illegally imported cosmetic injections, including counterfeit Botox. The shipments, which came from Germany, Thailand, Spain, South Korea, and Turkey, were bound for residences in California, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Maryland.

CBP officers in Calexico, California stopped a car and seized almost 10 pounds of fentanyl pills hidden in bars of soap, hair cream, lotion, milk containers, bags of corn nuts and a fire extinguisher.

Law enforcement also seized more than 15,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Ohio’s Wayne and Medina counties noted an uptick in counterfeit pills made with fentanyl, including fake Aleve pills seized by the Doylestown Police in August.

Authorities in California's Santa Clarita Valley and Stanislaus County, Washington’s Skagit County and in central Minnesota also issued warnings about counterfeit fentanyl.

The Orange County Register shared a story about 14-year-old Alexander Hastings Neville, who died tragically of fentanyl poisoning on June 23 in Aliso Viejo, California. He thought he was taking an oxycodone pill.

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.