August 9, 2021: Counterfeit HIV treatments reach U.S. pharmacies
Gilead Sciences reports that unauthorized distributors have been selling counterfeit versions of its HIV treatments, Biktarvy and Descovy, to U.S. pharmacies. This is the second case of counterfeit HIV medicine reaching U.S. pharmacies in the last 12 months: In December 2020, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson warned that counterfeit Symtuza® had been distributed to three U.S. pharmacies.
Law enforcement and health officials across the country continue to warn generally that fentanyl poisonings are on the rise, and that counterfeit pills made with fentanyl are a significant cause of drug deaths. This week, news sites in Nebraska, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania covered the issue.
Arizona’s Department of Public Safety reported that police had seized 100,000 fentanyl pills from a home in Phoenix.
In South Dakota, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office announced that a multi-agency drug bust had yielded 88 pounds of illicit drugs and 6,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills.
A federal jury convicted Washington residents Bradley Woolard, Anthony Pelayo and Jerome Isham of distributing fentanyl disguised as oxycodone pills in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties. The operation ran from 2015, when Woolard began buying fentanyl from China and acquired a pill press and other materials to make counterfeit pills, until in July 2018, while law enforcement officers found 12,000 fake oxycodone pills in his Arlington home.
A federal court ordered California-based AMARC Enterprises Inc. to stop selling “Poly-MVA” and “Poly-MVA for Pets,” which defendants claimed—without adequate proof—could cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease, including cancer.
Kirtland, Ohio residents Andrew Householder and Ernest Corrigan pleaded guilty to drug charges. In December 2021, law enforcement discovered a methamphetamine lab and a pill press allegedly used to make counterfeit Adderall pills that contained meth in a house the men used.
An official from the Drug Enforcement Administration's Pittsburgh office reported that the office had seized over one million counterfeit fentanyl tablets and eight pill presses coming into Allegheny County over the last eight months.
The Suffolk County, New York District Attorney has indicted five people who allegedly ran a “one-stop-shop drug delivery service” for Suffolk County residents. A search of four properties in West Babylon, North Babylon, Melville and Great Neck in June yielded 5.7 kilograms of narcotics, including 2,750 grams of counterfeit fentanyl pills.
In Texas, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office seized 75,000 fentanyl pills from a San Antonio hotel.
A grand jury in Miami-Dade County, Florida charged two North Carolina men accused of raping a Pennsylvania woman with first-degree murder. The men allegedly supplied the pills that killed her and a Chicago resident during spring break in March 2021.
The Chinese government passed measures that would place medicine manufacturers that produce or sell counterfeit or unapproved medicines or make medicines outside of regulatory requirements on a list of "untrustworthy enterprises." Companies on the list will face penalties ranging from fines to revocation of business licenses.