June 3, 2024: CAST Act introduced in the Senate

Major Stories

Federal legislation to combat fentanyl and pill presses introduced in the Senate and new authority for the FDA.

U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced Representative Abigail Spanberger’s (D-VA-07) the Criminalizing Abused Substance Templates (CAST) Act in the Senate. The CAST Act would stiffen penalties against individuals who use illegal pill presses to make and distribute counterfeit pills.

A newly finalized rule grants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to destroy counterfeit medical devices that have been refused entry into the country. Prior to now, medical devices that were stopped at the border had to be returned to the owner, allowing criminals to simply send the devices again, hoping they would slip into the country unnoticed.

Packages of counterfeit medicine seized in JFK Airport mail facility  (Source: Tweet by former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.)

Domestic News

Nine new lawsuits about copycat GLP-1 purveyors and guilty pleas in diabetic test strip case.

Image from Novo Nordisk's lawsuit against Aesthetic Maison

Novo Nordisk filed lawsuits in federal court against nine spas, clinics, and pharmacies over the alleged sale of copycat versions of its weight loss drug Wegovy. Testing by the company found samples to be underdosed, impure, or contained zero semaglutide. 

Two residents in South Florida pleaded guilty for their roles in a diversion scheme involving the distribution of adulterated and misbranded diabetic testing strips. After acquiring the diabetic test strips through illegal importations, theft, or by buying them back from patients, wholesale companies owned by the defendants sold them to licensed pharmacies, some of which they owned.

Law enforcement filed charges against eight members of a drug trafficking organization in Florida, seizing a pill press during the arrest operations.

Louisiana has become the most recent state to ban the sale of tianeptine, a federally unregulated drug that is used in some countries as an antidepressant.

International News

Pill presses seized in two countries, insulin diversion in India, and unapproved pills seized in Qatar.

Health Canada issued a public warning after seizing two different counterfeit medications from a gas station in Vineland, Ontario.

Police in Hobart, Australia seized a pill press and chemical binding agents used in the making of pills.

Police in Northumbria, U.K. seized an industrial pill press and thousands of counterfeit Xanax pills that testing showed were made with bromazolam.

Six medicine wholesalers in India had their licenses temporarily suspended for their participation in an insulin diversion scheme.

The FDA published a warning letter sent to Ostar Beauty Sci-Tech Co Ltd. in December 2023 about the company’s failure to receive marketing clearance for several medical devices.

Customs officials in Qatar seized 1,400 pregabalin pills from a traveler attempting to enter the country. It was not reported whether these pills are real or fake.

Image of seized counterfeit medicine's packaging provided by Health Canada