Counterfeit Medicine News for January 18, 2021
COVID-19 counterfeits and fraud:
Johnny Stine, of Seattle, Washington, who first came to public attention in March 2020 when he tried to sell his own untested “COVID-19 vaccine,” was arrested and charged on January 21st after one of the people he injected was hospitalized with the coronavirus.
The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division warned taxpayers to beware of a new wave of COVID-19-related scams, including text messages and phishing schemes; fake cures, vaccines, pills, and medical advice; fake donation requests and fraudulent opportunities to invest in companies developing vaccines. Authorities in California also warned residents to be alert to scams related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Software firm Check Point reported that sales of fake COVID-19 vaccines on the dark web have grown 400% since December 2020.
A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania man has been charged with stealing more than $700,000 from two New York City companies by falsely promising to sell them medical gowns from a factory in China.
The state of Ohio is investigating 796,000 claims for unemployment that were flagged to be investigated for potential fraud.
John Frank Naber III of Oldham County, Kentucky received an 11-year prison sentence for manufacturing and selling counterfeit Adderall made with methamphetamine on the dark web.
In Rock Hill, South Carolina, Fate Thomas McClurkin Jr. received a 12-year sentence in federal prison for his role in a drug trafficking operation that sold tens of thousands of fake Roxicodone pills that were made with fentanyl.
Overseas, police in Mumbai, India arrested five people for their roles in the sale of fake Johnson & Johnson sutures.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Minneapolis seized more than 40,000 prescription pills—antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and analgesics—illegally shipped from Laos.
Federal postal inspectors in Anchorage, Alaska intercepted 2.4 ounces of blue “M30” pills that contained fentanyl on their way to Utqiagvik from Arizona. The pills were hidden in the motor housing of an Oster blender, which was in its original packaging.
Law enforcement seized three-and-a-half pounds of suspected counterfeit fentanyl pills as part of a larger drug bust in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Authorities in Fargo and Jamestown, North Dakota warned about counterfeit prescription pills made with fentanyl circulating in the area.
The Medical Examiner’s Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, too, warned about the prevalence of counterfeit fentanyl pills in the area, citing the recent death of a man who had taken them.
PSM is keeping a steady eye on public reports of dangerous counterfeit drugs and other medical products. Check back for next week’s summary.