June 28, 2021: CBP stops black market remdesivir on its way to Mexico

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers captured more than 100 shipments of unauthorized versions of the Covid-19 treatment remdesivir in recent months. The drugs, which were on their way from Bangladesh or India to Mexico, were not licensed for use in the U.S. or Mexico. 

Remdesivir has been widely counterfeited in India since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Counterfeit remdesivir seized in Gurjarat, India, April 2021. (Source: Asian News International)

Additional COVID-19 Fraud

Jim Bakker and Morningside Church Productions will pay $156,000 in restitution to viewers who purchased Silver Solution after the Jim Bakker Show fraudulently promoted it as a COVID-19 treatment. The FDA warned Bakker to stop promoting Silver Sol Liquid as a COVID cure in March 2020. 

Federal authorities in Texas filed an injunction against a Minnesota man and his company for allegedly selling counterfeit N95 masks imported from China. 100,000 of the fake masks were discovered inside a U.S. Customs bonded warehouse in El Paso in December 2020.

Police in Kolkata, India shut down a fake COVID-19 vaccination center which was apparently administering injections of an antibiotic instead of genuine vaccines.

Prosecutions & Seizures - Central States:

A man who allegedly provided the counterfeit fentanyl pills that killed Stephanie McMahon of Chickasha, Oklahoma last October is facing murder charges. Oklahoma’s Bureau of Narcotics reports that it is investigating more than 12 of these fatal poisonings.

Law enforcement in Pataskala, Ohio arrested two men and seized more than two kilograms of methamphetamine and 2,700 counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl in a storage facility.

Prosecutions & Seizures - Northeastern States

Federal authorities arrested a 20-year-old Worcester, Massachusetts man who they alleged used Snapchat to arrange the sale of 1,000 counterfeit Adderall pills made with methamphetamine to an undercover Massachusetts State Police Trooper in May 2021. A search of the man’s home last week yielded more than 50,000 counterfeit Adderall pills and a kilogram of cocaine.

Officers responding to the scene of a crash in Framingham, Massachusetts found that a scooter driver involved in the incident was carrying 350 fake fentanyl pills, as well as other drugs. Law enforcement also made seizures in Madisonville, Kentucky and in Pennsylvania’s Cambria and Indiana counties.

Law enforcement in Dutchess County, New York allege that the owner and employees of a deli and market in Poughkeepsie distributed counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl, which they acquired from a local woman who was buying them in large quantities on the dark web.

U.S. parents have become increasingly concerned about the sale of counterfeit pills on Snapchat and in other social media forums. watch the video and learn more.

Prosecutions & Seizures - Southeast States:

The sheriff's office in Murray County, Georgia shut down a prescription drug smuggling operation run by two men who allegedly bought more than 20,000 tapentadol tablets without a prescription from India and repackaged and resold them by mail to U.S. residents.

A Greenwood, South Carolina couple face charges of unlawful conduct toward a child after their one-year-old ingested a fentanyl pill and had to be treated with Narcan.

Prosecutions & Seizures - Western States:

CBP agents at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport seized almost 47,500 counterfeit Cialis pills among more than 57,000 counterfeit products arriving in a cargo shipment from China.

Sheriff’s deputies in Washoe County, Nevada arrested a California man after finding kilogram quantities of meth and 2,000 fentanyl pills in his car during a traffic stop.

Cialis pills seized at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, June 2021 

Prosecutions & Seizures - International:

In India, a pharmaceutical manufacturer with offices in Mumbai and Pune has been charged with selling fake medicines to 14 Indian states over the last 18 months. Law enforcement in Delhi arrested ten people accused of making and selling counterfeit injections of a drug used in the treatment of Black Fungus disease.

Authorities in Hong Kong arrested nine people and seized more than 100 types of counterfeit pharmaceutical products, including 110,000 tablets of counterfeit medicine and one-and-a-half liters of fake drugs in liquid form. The medicine, which was sold to Hong Kong pharmacies, included hematology and oncology drugs.

Some of the fake medicines seized in Hong Kong last week. (Source: South China Morning Post )

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