Counterfeit Medicine News for January 11, 2021

New Report:

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)’s latest Rogue Rx Activity Report, Risky Dietary Supplements: How Pharmacists Can Help Protect Patients explores the problem of adulterated dietary supplements and suggests that pharmacists have a role to play in educating patients.

Texas-based USPLabs, for example, sold supplements that caused heart attacks, liver failure and deaths.

COVID-19 counterfeits and fraud:

A recent Wall Street Journal video notes online COVID-19 vaccines scams have spiked since late in 2020. Researchers identified over 1,700 new vaccine-related websites since November and found fake vaccines for sale on the dark web.

The Federal Trade Commission and state authorities warned that U.S. residents cannot pay for early access to the COVID-19  vaccine. Legitimate medical officials will not ask for personal information or payment on the phone or via text. Report suspected scammers to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline.

Customs and Border Protection Officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport seized over 100,000 Counterfeit 3M N95 masks in two shipments from Hong Kong.

A Utah pharmacy owner pleaded guilty to buying chloroquine from an unregistered manufacturer in China that mislabeled the drug as an herbal supplement for shipping.

In California, the San Diego County District Attorney's office charged nine prison inmates who they alleged fraudulently collected more than $150,000 in Employment Development Department funds in 2020. The state estimates that state prison and jail inmates netted at least $400 million in stolen funds in 2020.

Counterfeit News:


Lawrenceville, Georgia resident George Kuiper pleaded guilty in federal court to operating an illegal internet pharmacy. Between 2006 and 2020, he ran websites that sold unapproved drugs and controlled substances that he had smuggled from foreign countries.

Rosaliana Lopez-Rodriguez of Mount Vernon pleaded guilty to dealing the counterfeit oxycodone pills that killed a 17-year-old Bellingham resident in 2019.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter charged a man with first-degree murder and drug distribution for allegedly selling counterfeit oxycodone made with fentanyl that killed a 30-year-old woman.

A man in Mossyrock, Washington has been charged with selling the counterfeit fentanyl pills that killed a local woman in November 2020.

A 41-year-old Oroville, California man was arrested after police found counterfeit pills, a pill press, and illegal weapons in his home.


CBP in Cincinnati, Ohio seized approximately 10,350 pills of counterfeit Viagra in bottles that falsely claimed it had been manufactured in the United States. The pills were on their way from the Middle East to Brooklyn, New York.

CBP in Chicago, Illinois intercepted two shipments of illegally imported steroid pills on their way from Lithuania to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Police in Quincy, Massachusetts discovered commercial-grade pill presses, a large quantity of fentanyl, and other pill-making supplies in a rental garage at a storage facility.

Law enforcement in Canadian County, Oklahoma seized 10,000 fentanyl pills and arrested two Phoenix residents who were allegedly delivering the pills to Cleveland, Ohio.  Pill seizures were also reported in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, Brockton, MassachusettsAlbuquerque, New Mexico and Moab, Utah.

Officers in Faribault, Minnesota are investigating the fentanyl poisoning deaths of two Faribault residents on January 9 after they found what they suspected was counterfeit oxycodone at the scene.

More than 4,000 pills of various steroids seized by CBP officers in Chicago.

Pill press machine seized by Quincy, Massachusetts police, January 2021. (Source: Quincy Police)

PSM is keeping a steady eye on public reports of dangerous counterfeit drugs and other medical products. Check back for next week’s summary.