Counterfeit Medicine News for March 15, 2021

COVID-19 counterfeits and fraud:

Fake COVID-19 vaccines seized from a private plane in Mexico, on their way to Honduras (Source:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection updated their seizure statistics, noting that as of the end of February, they had seized 177,500 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits, 30 million counterfeit face masks and hundreds of thousands of other prohibited and fraudulent COVID-related items.

Authorities at Campeche International Airport in southern Mexico raided a private plane to seize 1,000 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines on their way to Honduras.

The Food and Drug Administration warned an aromatherapy company in Grants Pass, Oregon to stop selling unapproved products with claims that they treat or prevent COVID-19.

The Virginia Attorney General reached a $4,000 settlement with Falls Church-based Rio Medical Supplies over allegations of price gouging on sales of hand sanitizer in March 2020.

This week saw substantial movement on pandemic relief loan fraud prosecutions, with a sentencing in Dayton, Ohio,  a guilty plea in Clyde Hill, Washington, and wire fraud charges in Miami, Florida.

Counterfeit News:

Counterfeit Adderall (Source: Office of the Suffolk County DA in New York)

With the release of the 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offices across the country shared statistics about 2020 trends. The agency reported:

In addition, the Chicago Field Division highlighted the threat of fentanyl pills  in Cook County, Illinois where the medical examiner's office saw a 52% increase in opioid deaths in 2020.

Prosecutions and Seizures:

Phoenix, Arizona residents Josue Medina-Perez and Francisco Delgado were sentenced to eight and ten years in federal prison, respectively, for transporting and selling thousands of fentanyl pills in Washington State.

Law enforcement in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana arrested 15 people for alleged drug trafficking. Over the course of a related nine-month investigation, agents seized a pill press, fentanyl, a variety of prescription pills, other narcotics, and firearms.

Authorities arrested two women in Clearville, Pennsylvania, a 22-year old in Cleveland County, North Carolina, and a 26-year-old in Bellevue, Washington all of whom, in unrelated cases, allegedly sold counterfeit pills that caused three fentanyl poisoning deaths.

Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Arizona seized $30,000 worth of fentanyl pills and a small amount of methamphetamine during the inspection of a truck at the Interstate 8 immigration checkpoint. There were additional fentanyl pill seizures in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Bakersfield, California.

Authorities in China are working to make express delivery companies accountable for transporting fake medicine after an investigation found that the employee of one such company  knowingly helped ship more 600 boxes of fake heart disease medicine to Harbin last year.


The FDA issued a warning about Real Water, an alkalized water product that may be linked to liver failure in five children in Nevada.

Law enforcement in Madison County, Georgia warned about a spike in fentanyl poisonings and the availability of counterfeit prescription pills made with fentanyl or carfentanil in the area.

The district attorney in Suffolk, New York warned residents about counterfeit Adderall made with methamphetamine.

The Partnership for Safe Medicines extends condolences to Tammy Lyon-Gordon of French Valley, California, who spoke out about fentanyl pills this week, after losing both her teenagers to fentanyl poisoning in the last twelve months.

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