Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of September 28, 2020


Brush up on the Administration's importation schemes with our Importation Executive Order Explainer video and blog.

Experts in the U.S. and Canada continue to weigh in on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services final rulemaking for state importation programs. Read The Partnership for Safe Medicines’ statement on this dangerous and costly policy and catch up on the latest importation news and policymaker reactions

A new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products, found that the fake medicine trade has a significant negative impact on economies and public health worldwide, including causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Coronavirus Fraud And Counterfeits:

Counterfeit vaccines seized in Odisha, India, September 2020 (Source: The Hindu)

The Federal Trade Commission reports that U.S. residents lost about $149 million in coronavirus-related scams through late September, with around 210,000 reports coming into the agency. Maricela Segura, director of the FTC’s Western Region Los Angeles office, reiterated that consumers should be wary of COVID-19 treatments or cures: "You're not going to hear about a breakthrough cure for the first time in a sales pitch.”

Authorities in the state of Odisha in India arrested a man for manufacturing fake COVID-19 vaccines. During a search of his property, they also found fake injections to treat infertility.

Other Counterfeit News:

As of October 2nd, authorities have reported counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl in every state in the union, and they've linked deaths to those pills in 42 states. Learn more.

Federal prosecutors submitted a devastating sentencing memorandum recommending life imprisonment for Cottonwood Heights, Utah resident Aaron Shamo, who was convicted last year of 12 felonies for manufacturing and selling hundreds of thousands of counterfeit fentanyl pills and counterfeit alprazolam pills via a dark net storefront. The document recounted the deaths of 90 people who had been Shamo’s customers.

Guadalupe Ramos of Lexington, Kentucky received a 20-year prison sentence for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, fentanyl, and marijuana. ATF and DEA agents seized 12,500 fentanyl pills among other drugs during a search related to the investigation in January 2020.

Logan Allan Eby of Friday Harbor, Washington received a prison sentence of four years and three months for selling the fentanyl-laced pills that killed 24-year-old Frank Gray of Anacortes in February 2019.

Rock Hill, South Carolina resident Cordaris Michael Burris received an 18-month sentence for selling counterfeit pills made with carfentanil that killed 21-year-old Anna Smail in 2017. Burris did not know the pills contained carfentanil when he was selling them.

12 people have been charged for allegedly trafficking methamphetamine and counterfeit pills from California to Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington. Federal agents seized more than 33,000 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, along with other illicit drugs, during the investigation.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Champlain Port of Entry seized a shipment of counterfeit Cialis pills on its way into the United States.

Police in Soledad, California arrested a man they found with counterfeit oxycodone made with fentanyl. Soledad lost two residents to suspected fentanyl-laced pills in September.

Officials in Maui, Hawaii warned residents that they had found counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. This news means that the deadly fakes have been found in all 50 states.

Health officials issued a warning about overdoses linked to counterfeit fentanyl pills in DuPage County, Illinois.

Parents in Santa Clarita and San Luis Obispo, California are warning families about the threat of counterfeit pills after losing children of their own.

Police and public health officials in Ontario, Canada have reported finding counterfeit Xanax made with adinazolam, a tranquilizer which is not approved for use in Canada or the U.S.

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.