Counterfeit Medicine News, December 22, 2020 - January 8, 2021

COVID-19 counterfeits and fraud:

A warning tweet from Pinellas County's Health Department.

More than 710,000 counterfeit medical masks were seized in the final weeks of  2020: more than 10,000 fake 3M surgical masks in Cincinnatimore than 200,000 in Phoenix, and  500,000 on their way to healthcare facilities in Minnesota.

Authorities in the United Kingdom warned of a new COVID-19 vaccine phishing scam that led recipients to a fake NHS site set up to collect their banking information.

The Department of Health in Pinellas County, Florida found that scammers were creating fake Eventbrite listings that collected money to register residents for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia filed an injunction to stop a Georgia company from selling unapproved vitamin D products as treatments for COVID-19.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Coco's Holistic Specialties & Apothecary to stop selling tea products for COVID-19  treatment or prevention.


Florida submitted its final application for a Canadian Drug Importation Program in November. Check out PSM's analysis here.

Counterfeit News:


Patrick Charles Bishop of Hoover, Alabama pleaded guilty to fraudulently introducing adulterated and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. Bishop manufactured suppositories using illegally imported peptides made in China and sold them as cancer treatments to a holistic cancer treatment center in Mexico, and to U.S. patients.

Canada extradited two residents to stand trial in North Dakota for their alleged roles in a drug trafficking ring that sold fentanyl pills and powder that killed Americans across the country.

A man in Phoenix, Arizona was arrested in the matter of his one-year-old son’s fentanyl poisoning death at the end of October 2020. Police found oxycodone pills strewn around the living room where the father and child lived.

A federal grand jury charged a Sacramento, California man with possession with intent to distribute after finding him with counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl.

A group of federal air marshals in Dallas, Texas were disciplined after a two-year internal investigation revealed a Viagra-smuggling and distribution ring there. Marshals involved in the scheme purchased the pills abroad and snuck them past security to sell them to coworkers.


Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Arizona intercepted almost five pounds of fentanyl pills during a traffic stop at the immigration checkpoint on Interstate 8.

Police in Gunnison, Colorado reported seizing  “a large number of suspected counterfeit oxycodone pills” and other drugs during a bust on December 15, 2020.

A 38-year-old Acreage, Florida resident was arrested after a search of his home and  a storage unit near Royal Palm Beach  turned up thousands of oxycodone pills, a pill press, fentanyl, and other drugs.

Detectives from Fairfax County, Virginia’s Street Crimes Unit arrested a Woodbridge, Virginia man and seized hundreds of counterfeit fentanyl pills in late December.

The drug enforcement unit in Greenville County, South Carolina confiscated 4,000 counterfeit Xanax during a traffic stop and the subsequent search of a residence.


Officials in Nova Scotia, Canada warned residents about counterfeit Xanax pills made with etizolam.

In Kentucky, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office reported that four deaths in November and December 2020 had been linked to Xanax pills made of fentanyl.

The Dickinson, North Dakota Police Department warned that there had been four near-fatal fentanyl poisonings as a result of counterfeit oxycodone.

Read the indictment filed against Patrick Charles Bishop.

Nearly 5 pounds of fentanyl pills seized at the border in Arizona in December. (Source: CBP)

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