January 24, 2022: 85,000+ bottles of fake HIV medicines

A federal judge unsealed Gilead Sciences’ July 2021 lawsuit filed against a network of unauthorized drug suppliers and distributors who allegedly sold counterfeit versions of its HIV medicines, Biktarvy and Descovy, to U.S. pharmacies. The company warned about the counterfeit medicines in August 2021 and has since identified 85,247  bottles of fake drugs—some of which actually contained a dangerously sedating antipsychotic—that were sold to pharmacies over the past two years. Read Gilead's complaint.

Watch our video for a summary of the case so far. 

This crime could have had a huge impact on the health of U.S. patients, and PSM will be following it. Watch for updates at safedr.ug/Fake-HIV-Meds.

More national news

On January 18, Snap, Inc. announced new anti-drug trafficking measures on Snapchat, including expanding public education initiatives and making it harder for Snapchat users to find the accounts of minors. People who have lost loved ones to dealers on the platform joined Victims of Illicit Drugs in a protest outside Snap’s Santa Monica, California headquarters on Friday, January 21.

Meanwhile, Senator Rick Scott and Representative Gus Bilirakis sent a letter  asking social media companies to detail their efforts to prevent drug trafficking on their platforms.

The Federal Trade Commission sent out another round of letters telling more than 20 marketers to stop falsely claiming their products can effectively prevent or treat COVID-19.

In the South

In  Boca Raton, Florida the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested the owner of Woodfield Pharmaceuticals for allegedly trafficking counterfeit and mislabeled promethazine-codeine cough syrup. The case is linked to the Houston-based cough syrup traffickers PSM featured in our December 13, 2021 video.

19-year-old Kobe Malik Woods of Marion, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to one count of attempted possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl pills. Woods ordered the pills through Snapchat from a supplier in California.

Another Marion resident, 20-year-old Anthony Peter Arrindell, received a 36-month sentence for the same crime; United States Postal Inspection Service investigators intercepted two packages that contained almost 3,000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl on their way to Arrindell in the summer of 2021.

This week’s news also covered the fentanyl pill poisoning deaths of Frankita Davis of Nashville Tennessee in March 2021 and Land O'Lakes, Florida resident Ryan Cooper in September 2021.

In the Northeast

Jose Amador Guerrero, a former resident of Lawrence, Massachusetts, received a 56-month prison sentence for drug trafficking. Guerrero pleaded guilty after he sold fentanyl pills, fentanyl powder, and oxycodone powder to an undercover agent in Lawrence in 2020.

A Lynn, Massachusetts resident who was charged by complaint in June 2021 has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged role in a fentanyl pill manufacturing and distribution ring.

The Bucks County, Pennsylvania District Attorney announced charges against three men who supplied 40-year-old Amanda Shields with the fake Percocet that killed her in August 2020. Shields' husband, who gave her the pill, is among those charged. 

Two Beaver County, Pennsylvania families shared the loss of their sons, Jordan Martin and Sam Starcher, to counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in June 2020 and May 2019, respectively. 

In the Midwest

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit against two Illinois-based companies that collected samples from Minnesotans for COVID-19 testing, but either failed to deliver test results, or delivered test results that were falsified or inaccurate.

Alyssa Elizabeth Faith Miller, formerly of New Prague, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to providing the fake oxycodone made with fentanyl that killed 23-year-old Marcus Kory Krogh in May 2020.

A notary in St. Louis, Missouri pleaded guilty in federal court to ordering almost 1,000 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards.

first page of a lawsuit

Read Minnesota's complaint against Center for COVID Control, LLC and Doctors Clinical Laboratory, Inc.

In the Mountain West

Two men in Gillette, Wyoming were charged with drug possession after police caught them with 7,000 fentanyl pills and methamphetamine.

In Arizona, the Tucson Police Department concluded a six-month investigation by arresting a man and seizing multiple illicit drugs, including 3,000 pills made with fentanyl.

The owner of an Albuquerque, New Mexico smoke shop has been changed for allegedly trafficking drugs out of his home and business. Police seized fentanyl pills, marijuana and cash while executing search warrants.

Bryan and Karen Bomberg of Routt County, Colorado shared the loss of their 28-year-old son, Conner, to a fake pill made with fentanyl last November. The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention reports that fentanyl is a growing problem in the Yampa Valley.

In the Pacific West

In Washington, the Whatcom County Gang and Drug Task Force arrested a 57-year-old man who allegedly ran a drug house, selling heroin and counterfeit pills that they suspect contained fentanyl.

A man in Battle Ground, Washington has been charged with selling the narcotics (including fentanyl pills) that killed 31-year-old Mychal Schneider of Vancouver last August.

In California, two Stanford University employees filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stanford, the Theta Delta Chi Founders’ Corporation, and four individuals in the death of their son, Eitan Weiner. Weiner died in his fraternity house in January 2020 after taking a counterfeit Percocet made with fentanyl.

Items seized in the home of a man in Whatcom County, Washington, January 2022 

International News

In Canada, the Ontario Provincial Police seized a pill press, suspected fentanyl, methamphetamine and other illegal drugs in a Dashwood residence.

Authorities in the Philippines arrested at least seven people who allegedly sold unauthorized COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits and counterfeit medicines in Quezon City.