Fake Drugs Have Real Consequences for Patients
Black market medicine is terrible for patients all over the world, including Americans. At best, counterfeit and substandard medicine may not adequately treat a patient's illness. At worst, counterfeit medicines may cause poisoning or death.
Each of the following stories mentions people who have been sickened or died after being treated with fake medicine. Every day, American patients are harmed when they break the closed U.S. drug supply.
In February 2002, 16-year-old Long Island, New York resident Timothy Fagan needed an emergency liver transplant. The transplant was lifesaving, but Timothy suffered from terrible anemia after the surgery, and his doctor prescribed him a weekly injection of Epogen to treat it. The Fagans found that their son’s injections were incredibly painful, and after eight terrible weeks they learned why: the Epogen they had received was counterfeit.
Blain Padgett earned a full athletic scholarship and a defensive end position with the Rice University Owls in 2015 through persistence, vision and sheer hard work, but his dream of playing college football was cut short on March 2, 2018, when he was found dead in his apartment. Investigation showed that Blain’s cause of death was fentanyl poisoning: the hydrocodone pill he’d taken from a friend for his shoulder pain turned out to be a counterfeit laced with carfentanil.
Eric Highsmith Griffin of Lexington, South Carolina died of fentanyl poisoning on May 10, 2016 after taking a Xanax for anxiety. He had no way of knowing that the medicine he had purchased from a friend of a friend was not just like the medicine he’d been prescribed. He would never have risked his life or caused suffering to his children and family if he had known that a non-opioid anti-anxiety medication could really be a counterfeit poison pill.
On March 11, 2018, 20-year-old Jaydon Rogers died after he ingested a counterfeit oxycodone pill made with fentanyl. Recently, one of the men who helped put that pill into his hand received a sentence of 128 months in federal prison…
On September 30th, the Public Health Department of Santa Clara County, California updated a public health warning they had issued September 10th about deadly counterfeit 30mg oxycodone pills. The initial warning described “tablets visually appear to be the pharmaceutically manufactured version—they are circular in shape, light blue to light green in color, and have an ‘M’ inside a square stamped on one side and a ‘30’ stamped on the other side. Numerous fatal overdoses have been tied to these tablets, with a strong uptick in fatal overdoses in August 2019.”
32-year-old Grand Junction resident Ashley Romero was the cherished eldest daughter of her close-knit Colorado family. With her warm heart and brilliant, 1,000 watt smile, she made friends everywhere she went. Ashley died on June 11, 2018, after taking half of an oxycodone pill. The pill was fake and actually made with fentanyl.
A Coral Gables, Florida ophthalmologist at the Beautiful Vision Clinic is being investigated for importing counterfeit Botox from China to use on patients. On September 11, 2019, investigators raided the office of Dr. Francesann Ford and seized boxes of Botox that they allege are counterfeits imported from China.
Virtually every state in the Union has a serious problem with counterfeit pills made with fentanyl. During the month of September we have found reports of counterfeit pill deaths in Alaska, California, and Washington.
A medical doctor in Burley, Idaho has pleaded guilty to charges he used illegally imported breast implants from China on nine patients in his care. Dr. Temp Ray Patterson has admitted in court that he misled his patients by telling them the breast implants were FDA-approved; when he knew for a fact they were not.
U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer has issued a public safety warning concerning deadly counterfeit oxycodone pills in San Diego County. NBC San Diego reports, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office said border seizures, prosecutions and overdoses in San Diego County are on pace to reach all-time highs by the end of 2019. The Medical Examiner’s Office reports 50 confirmed fentanyl-related fatal overdoses so far this year, and says 28 more suspected cases are waiting to be confirmed.”