Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of October 5, 2020

Now that the excitement has worn off, states are discovering that importation is just not that easy.

Policy:

After an in-depth study, the Wyoming Department of Health has concluded that Canadian drug importation will not lower prescription drug prices in Wyoming. In an actuarial review for North Dakota, Deloitte Consulting came to similar conclusions.

Learn more in "Posturing vs. Policy," our most recent News of the Week.

Coronavirus Fraud And Counterfeits:

The Arkansas Attorney General has filed suit against a Fayetteville clinic and two of its employees for fraudulently promoting stem-cell and ozone therapies as COVID-19 cures to Hispanic communities in northwest Arkansas.

A federal grand jury in Texas indicted a Coppell resident for allegedly submitting 15 fraudulent applications seeking approximately $24.8 million in PPP loans.

Federal authorities filed a civil injunction against an El Paso resident who was selling fake COVID-19 prevention treatments through his business and his Facebook webpage.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned businesses in Colorado and California to stop claiming their herbal products mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington D.C. reported the seizure of black market COVID-19 products, including 916 tablets of COVID-related medications and 134 COVID-19 test kits and antibody tests since August 13, 2020.

Medical mask maker 3M reported working with customs and law enforcement agencies to intercept 3.5 million counterfeit respirators worldwide since the pandemic began.

Deceptive advertising shown in the Arkansas AG's complaint against a Fayetteville clinic.

Other Counterfeit News:

Prosecutions:

Jocelyn Lopez-Sanchez of Tucson, Arizona received a 12-year prison sentence for the importing and distributing counterfeit, fentanyl-laced oxycodone pills that caused overdoses and the death of Aaron Francisco Chavez on November 1, 2018.

Darrell Lee Watson of Plainfield, New Jersey received a 48-month sentence for shipping more than 5,000 fentanyl pills to Durham, North Carolina.

A federal grand jury in the Northern District of California charged a Monterey County resident and a pharmacist in Mexico for the alleged distribution of alprazolam and fentanyl, including the counterfeit oxycodone pill that killed a Monterey County resident on September 8.

In Minnesota, the Benton County district court charged a St. Cloud resident with third degree murder for allegedly dealing counterfeit pills resulting in death.

A woman has been charged in the death of Fort Worth, Texas resident Latora King, who died in May after receiving black market silicone injections.

Seizures:

CBP officers in Chicago seized 15,000 tablets marked and packaged as Viagra on their way from Turkey to a residence in Michigan.

Customs and Border Protection in Cincinnati, Ohio reported seizing 16 pounds of “nutritional supplements” made with methamphetamine on September 16th.

The Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff's Office and the United States Border Patrol seized 166 packages containing 54,840 fentanyl pills and other drugs during a traffic stop in the Casa Grande area.

CBP officers at the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego, California found almost 37 pounds of fentanyl pills in a larger drug bust worth an estimated $7.2 million.

Border Patrol agents in California also seized four pounds of fentanyl pills and 84 pounds of cocaine at the Interstate 8 checkpoint in Pine Valley and five packages of fentanyl pills hidden inside the center console of a car at the Highway 86 checkpoint near Salton Sea.

There were additional pill seizures in Globe, Arizona and Greenville, South Carolina.

Warnings:

Franklin County, Ohio coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz reported that 18 residents died over a four-day period beginning October 2 as a result of counterfeit Percocet, Xanax or Adderall pills that contained fentanyl and methamphetamine.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reports that fake oxycodone pills have killed at least ten Oklahomans over the past five months--including two in Grady County last week.

In Illinois, the Kane County Health Department is warning residents about counterfeit painkillers. The Illinois Poison Control Center and the Cook County Department of Public Health reported five recent fake pill-related overdoses, including the deaths of a 19-year-old and a 23-year-old.

The FDA issued a warning about silicone injections like the ones that killed Texas resident Latora King. Learn more here.

15,000 tablets marked and packaged as Viagra seized in Chicago, October 2020. 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.