May 3, 2021: A short extension for fentanyl analogue scheduling and more counterfeit news
President Biden signed legislation to extend a ban on fentanyl analogues into October 2021. PSM is grateful for the extension, but it is necessary to permanently schedule fentanyl-related analogues as Schedule I Controlled Substances. Learn why permanent scheduling is so important.
PSM and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators released an update to 2019’s Illegal Pill Presses: An Overlooked Threat to American Patients. Since 2019, fentanyl deaths are higher than ever and pills created by clandestine pill presses around the world continue to be sold on the streets and on the dark web. Read the report.
Federal investigators seized a ninth fake biotech company website that allegedly collected personal information for future fraud and phishing attacks. “Freevaccinecovax.org” was registered via an IP address in France and listed Russia as the registrant country,
Kettering Health Network (KHN) is suing Colorado-based Jade Designs LLC for $1.2 million, alleging that the company failed to deliver 330,000 N95 masks the hospital network ordered in Spring 2020 and then, in December, delivered 300,000 counterfeits.
California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and San Joaquin County, California law enforcement arrested a Clements, California bar owner who allegedly sold forged COVID-19 vaccination cards.
The FDA warned Houston-based Disinfect & Shield to stop selling a non-alcohol based hand sanitizer with false claims that it will protect against pathogens, including COVID-19 for up to eight hours.
Singaporean police reported that scammers are using hacked WhatsApp accounts to collect money that they falsely claim will buy the oxygen concentrator machines for donation to India
Former New York Police Department officer Joseph Recca received a five-year prison sentence for selling counterfeit fentanyl pills that killed 27-year-old Ryan Bornschein of Copiague, New York on September 3, 2019. In a text message exchange about delayed payment days before his death, Bornschein told Recca that he was in the hospital recovering from fentanyl poisoning and Recca replied, "So when will you have the money you think."
Odessa, Florida resident Julia Fees was sentenced to four years of probation and to pay a forfeiture of $231,000 for her part in a smuggling ring that imported the non-FDA approved sedative, etizolam, from India and sold it online. Two other members of the conspiracy already received eight- and thirteen-month sentences.
Los Angeles, California City Attorney secured a court order requiring an unlicensed sidewalk pharmaceutical dealer to pay $1,546 in restitution to her victims and to wear a GPS for 360 days to ensure that she avoids her previous sales location. The order reflects City Attorney Mike Feuer’s “continuing focus on stopping the sale of dangerous illegal pharmaceuticals in our communities.”
Medical spa operator Elisa Kaye Sanders of Tulsa, Oklahoma pleaded guilty to using non-FDA approved cosmetic fillers on patients without their knowledge, even after the FDA advised her that the practice was illegal.
In Texas, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Fort Worth man they believe supplied the counterfeit Percocet made with fentanyl that killed 18-year-old Kaden Vincent in April. A search of the man’s home yielded 22 grams of suspected fentanyl pills and almost 700 grams of other illicit drugs.
Authorities in Murrieta, California arrested a 21-year-old Riverside resident who allegedly supplied fentanyl that did great bodily harm to a Murrieta man. The investigation yielded 200 M-30 fentanyl pills and other drugs.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Chicago O’Hare’s International Mail Branch seized two packages containing 38,000 illegally imported tramadol tablets on their way from Mexico to a residence in Dallas, Texas.
In Bernalillo County, New Mexico, law enforcement arrested a Phoenix, Arizona man and seized about 18,000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl along with other illicit drugs hidden in his vehicle.
Warnings and Deaths
17-year-old Lawrenceville, Georgia resident Clara Butler died of fentanyl poisoning on April 21 after taking a fake Percocet. The night before she was found dead, Clara looked up overdose symptoms on her phone and texted the person who sold her the pill to ask what was in it. Her family is appealing to parents to warn their children about the danger of buying medicine on the street.
Authorities in Lincoln, Nebraska reported that counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl were circulating in the city. Similar warnings were issued in Junction City, Kansas, Mississippi, Omaha, Nebraska, and Seattle, Washington.
Walpole, Massachusetts police chief John Carmichael warned state legislators that counterfeit Adderall pills made with meth were an increasing problem in the state.
PSM is keeping a steady eye on public reports of dangerous counterfeit drugs and other medical products. Check back for next week’s summary.