The Partnership for Safe Medicines has been publishing information about the counterfeit drug problem around the world for more than a decade. With experts leading the organization and a committed and passionate set of writers and editors, our content is more in-depth than many other sources, which simply copy links to the news from other websites.
In PSM’s round-up this week: news about state drug importation, COVID-19 fraud, fake hand sanitizer stations, and more counterfeit medicine news.
This editorial by Brandon Macsata was published in The International Business Times on November 1, 2020. Macsata has been living with HIV since 2002, and serves as the CEO of the ADAP Advocacy Association, an organization that promotes the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and works to improve access to care.
With the recent report that police in Maui, Hawaii seized 400 counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl on October 2, 2020, the United States has reached a sobering milestone: public sources have reported about fake pills made with fentanyl in all 50 states.
In PSM’s round-up this week: news about state drug importation, COVID-19 fraud, deadly workout supplements and counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.
A summary briefing of 2020’s major cases, worrying trends and a deep dive into drug supply chain policy issues.
In PSM’s round-up this week: new reports about counterfeit medicine, drug supply chain regulation and phishing scams; FDA warnings about dangerous supplements; a life sentence for fake pill kingpin Aaron Shamo; and more.
In this analysis, which was published in Lexology on October 13, 2020, three global regulatory experts examine barriers to drug importation.
In PSM’s round-up this week: Policy truths about drug importation, prosecutions for fake COVID-19 treatments and financial fraud, and another week in counterfeit pills.
In the first seven months of 2020, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported over 2,700 newly suspected opioid overdose deaths in Arizona. What makes this figure more startling is that there were just over 3,800 suspected opioid deaths in the preceding 30 months. The problem is escalating, and rapidly.
The editorial board of the Florida Times-Union published an op-ed that states that Canadian drug importation will have a limited impact, and is a sign of a broken system, not a solution to one…
Wyoming is one of many states that decided to examine if importing drugs would provide significant savings to its citizens. In a hearing in August and a report released today, they took a critical look at the issue and the Department of Health recommends that the state not pursue the idea for several key reasons…
In PSM’s round-up this week: A new report about the counterfeit medicine trade, fake COVID-19 vaccines in India, the week in counterfeit pills.
In PSM’s round-up this week: HHS defies 20 years of expertise and guidance and recent negative feedback to finalize regulations for state-based Canadian drug importation programs, forward movement on the Safe Therapeutics Act, and more #covidscam and counterfeit drug news.
On September 23, 2020, Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar submitted a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy certifying that Canadian drug importation would pose not additional threats to consumers and would save Americans a significant amount of money on prescription drugs.
Trump Administration Defies 20 Years of FDA Expertise and Guidance in Finalizing Politically Motivated Drug Importation Rule Washington, D.C. (September 24, 2020) – Shabbir Safdar, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s Final Rule issued today on the importation of prescription drugs: “With 40…
On September 24th, 2020 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a draft of finalized rulemaking for Importation of Prescription Drugs. Watch this space for the most up-to-date news.
Last June, police in Ontario, Canada carried out Project Javelin, shutting down a huge counterfeiting operation that manufactured hundreds of thousands of fentanyl pills disguised as Oxycocet, a Health Canada-approved generic oxycodone and acetaminophen product with the same ingredients as Percocet.
Update: Executive Director Shabbir Safdar followed up with retired Chief Superintendent of the Ontario Police Don Bell to talk about the impact these criminals could have had. Watch that interview in our September 23rd video, “Deadly Pills in Ontario.”
In PSM’s round-up this week: 520,000 fake medical masks seized by Customs and Border Protection, another fake online pharmacy case, and a flood of news about counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.
Risk Statement: Patients being treated for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), who receive sub potent NP Thyroid®, may experience signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) which may include, fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, puffy face, hair loss, slow heart rate, depression, swelling of the thyroid gland and/or unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight. There is reasonable risk of serious injury in newborn infants or pregnant women with hypothyroidism including early miscarriage, fetal hyperthyroidism, and/or impairments to fetal neural and skeletal development. In elderly patients and patients with underlying cardiac disease toxic cardiac manifestations of hyperthyroidism may occur, such as cardiac pain, palpitations or cardiac arrhythmia. To date, Acella has received four reports of adverse events for these lot numbers possibly related to this recall.
In PSM’s round-up this week: $132 million in losses from #covidscams since March, fake online pharmacies selling counterfeit and non-FDA approved opioids, Operation Quack Hack, and more.
In PSM’s round-up this week: outrageous COVID-19-related financial fraud, fake treatments, and the week in deadly counterfeit pills.
If you are taking a life-saving HIV medication right now, or any kind of life saving medication, you may be concerned about how to be certain that your supply of medicine is secure. In this post, William Arnold of the Community Access National Network , PSM’s Shabbir Safdar, and Brandon M. Macsata of ADAP Advocacy Association offer suggestions to help.
Risk Statement: Patients being treated for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), who receive sub potent Nature-Throid® or WP Thyroid®, may experience signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) which may include, fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, puffy face, hair loss, slow heart rate, depression, swelling of the thyroid gland and/or unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
Risk Statement: Ingesting hand sanitizer, which is intended for topical use, may result in alcohol toxicity. Symptoms of alcohol toxicity may range from lack of coordination, slowed or slurred speech, drowsiness to coma, which can be fatal. Young children may experience a sharp decrease in blood sugar which may result in death. Pregnant women who ingest alcohol have experienced birth defects and developmental disabilities. Nursing mothers who ingest alcohol in above moderate levels may see developmental, growth and sleep pattern damages in their babies and may experience impaired judgement and ability to safely care for their child.
In this editorial, which was published in WBUR’s Cognoscenti on September 2, 2020, writer Sarah Ruth Bates explains why Canadian drug importation is too expensive and elaborate a solution to be effective.
In PSM’s round-up this week: ongoing coronavirus fraud, more hand sanitizer warnings and the week in fake medicine.
De‘Anna described her first experience with what she now knows was a counterfeit pill: “My first time taking a pill that was cut, a counterfeit pill, I blacked out, and woke up vomiting.” She also described losing her partner to a fake pill, who died from one when he was just 21.
This week’s “behind the scam” video discusses a real-life example of “Uplabeling,” which is a technique that counterfeit criminals have used in the past to make major profits. Learn about what happened when counterfeiters slipped diluted anemia medicine back into the legitimate drug supply.
In PSM’s round-up this week: Our infographic summary of the NABP’s May report about fake pharmacies cashing in on COVID-19, ongoing coronavirus fraud, and the week in fake medicine.
24-year-old Travis Jacobson was excited about an upcoming job interview. Recently graduated from Sacramento State University, he moved to Los Angeles to live with his best friend Landon and launch a career in public relations. Sadly, Travis never made it to that interview. Wanting a good night’s sleep beforehand, he took a Xanax pill that turned out to be a fake made with fentanyl, and it took his life.
In this editorial, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry warns parents and students about the dangers posed by counterfeit pills being sold on college campuses.
In May 2020, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy released Rogue Online Pharmacies in the Time of Pandemic: Capitalizing on Misinformation and Fear. to review how fake online pharmacies were exploiting patients responding to COVID-19.
This month, PSM finished an illustrated summary of NABP’s findings.
22-year-old West Haven, Utah resident Jaydon Rogers was an “all-American-kid.” A champion high school wrestler, he had tremendous enthusiasm for all kinds of sports, his family and life. Jaydon died of fentanyl poisoning on March 14, 2018 after he unknowingly took a counterfeit pill.
In PSM’s round-up this week: selling fake facemasks to fund ISIS, fake COVID-19 cures and fake prescription drug trafficking.
In this August 14, 2020 editorial, Best Medicines Coalition chair John Adams explains why Canadian importation will not lower U.S. medicine prices—and why the “concept of cheap drugs from Canada has never been anything more than a political hallucination.”
In PSM’s round-up this week: COVID-19 fraud, a new DEA initiative to slow the sale of pill presses, and ongoing counterfeit pill news—including charges filed in the death of L.A. Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
This week’s video goes “behind the scam” to show you “Uplabeling,” which is a technique that counterfeit criminals have used in the past to make major profits. In uplabeling, counterfeiters took a low-dose medical product and made it look like a more expensive, high-dose version of the same drug simply by changing the label.
In PSM’s round-up this week: Continuing COVID-19 fraud, counterfeit Botox, and ongoing counterfeit pill news.
On July 24, 2020, the White House issued an executive order to implement three approaches to foreign drug importation, all of which involve dipping into other countries’ drug supplies and putting them in U.S. medicine cabinets. Watch this week’s video to learn more.
In this July 28, 2020 editorial published in the WasteWatcher blog, Elizabeth Wright argues that the administration’s Executive Order will “encourage more illegal behavior and a greater production of counterfeit drugs from countries like China, Mexico, and India.” Wright is the Director of Health and Public Policy for Citizens Against Government Waste
The FDA has issued a second, more serious warning about hand sanitizers that have been made with deadly methanol. Their first warning came on July 2, when they warned they had “seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination.”
In PSM’s round-up this week: PSM’s statement about drug importation, The Safeguarding Therapeutics Act, continuing COVID-19 fraud, and ongoing counterfeit pill news.
Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2020) – Shabbir Safdar, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order signed today on the importation of prescription drugs:
A pair of men from Ukraine admitted in federal court that they conspired to smuggle and distribute counterfeit cancer and hepatitis C drugs into the United States. Maksym Nienadov, the owner of the Ukrainian-based company Healthy Nation, and his co-conspirator and employee – Volodymyr Nikolaienko – pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston, Texas to conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit drugs and smuggling goods into the country.
The FDA has issued 70 recalls/warnings at last count for hand sanitizers made with deadly wood alcohol (methanol). Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.
PSM’s round-up this week includes fake PPE and COVID-19 treatments, deaths and hospitalizations related to hand sanitizer made of methanol, fentanyl pill seizures, and guilty pleas from two Ukrainian men who sold counterfeit cancer and hepatitis treatments to U.S. agents.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up and passed H.R. 5663, the Safeguarding Therapeutics Act, today.
Importing medicine from Canada is more dangerous than it looks because it is so difficult to prosecute fake or substandard drug sellers. Legislators and their consultants make it sound as if holding a foreign vendor accountable will be easy, but history has shown that the U.S. federal government, with all of its agreements, power, and resources, still struggles to bring criminals to justice.
AAA is recalling all lots of their hand sanitizer due to the presence of undeclared methanol (wood alcohol) in their hand sanitizer products.
PSM continues to monitor public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. This week’s round-up includes news of COVID-19 scammers in the U.S. and overseas, fake pill traffickers in Arizona, South Carolina and Connecticut, and more.
4e Brands of San Antonio, Texas is recalling all lots of their hand sanitizer due to the presence of undeclared methanol (wood alcohol) in their hand sanitizer products.
In 2007, McLeod Cancer and Blood Center in Johnson City, Tennessee began buying medicine from Quality Specialty Products, a company that sold medicine from foreign sources that had not been inspected or approved by the FDA.
McLeod was just one of more than 900 U.S. medical practices caught buying non-FDA approved cancer drugs. Learn more about this ugly episode in black market medicines in this week’s video.
PSM continues to monitor public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. This week’s round-up includes news of COVID-19 scammers in the U.S. and overseas, as well as fake pill traffickers, and a startling counterfeit pill seizure in Italy.
PSM continues to monitor public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. This week’s round-up includes prosecutions of COVID-19 scammers and fake pill traffickers, massive seizures in across the U.S., and two tragic deaths.
The Department of Homeland Security blew past a grim milestone this month: 1 million fake COVID-19 products seized: fake and substandard personal protective equipment like masks, counterfeit test kits, black market medicine, unapproved thermometers, and fake treatments like colloidal silver or bleach.
PSM continues to monitor public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. Last week’s news includes prosecutions of COVID-19 scammers and counterfeit pill traffickers, and a massive fentanyl pill seizure in Canada.
It’s been happening since at least 2015, but many people are still not aware that counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl and fentanyl analogs are circulating in nearly all the United States and killing many, many people.
PSM is still monitoring public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. Here’s a quick round-up of counterfeit news published the week of June 8, 2020.
The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) applauds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) pilot program established this week to curb unapproved opioids illegally available online by potentially suspending or blocking offending domain names.
This week on #covidscams, PSM reviews the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s new report, Rogue Online Pharmacies in the Time of Pandemic: Capitalizing on Misinformation and Fear.
PSM is still monitoring public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. Here’s a quick round-up of counterfeit news published the week of June 1, 2020.
PSM is still monitoring public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. Here’s a quick round-up of counterfeit news published the week May 25, 2020.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed a lawsuit against Wellness Matrix Group to stop the California-based business from preying upon the public by selling fraudulent COVID-19 products…
The era of COVID-19 has been marked by shortages of medical equipment–hand sanitizer, test kits, gloves and, most of all, protective masks for healthcare workers and first responders. On May 13th, the Associated Press (AP) published a disheartening investigative piece–one in a series about the challenges of a worldwide medical supply chain–that shows just how difficult it is to establish that important medical supplies are safe and effective over the whole course of the purchasing process.
PSM is still monitoring public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. Here’s a quick round-up of counterfeit news published the week May 18, 2020.
Maine submitted a state importation plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently to meet its own May 1, 2020 deadline. Given the deep structural flaws in both the idea of importing medicine from Canada and in Maine’s application to do so, PSM wonders if there is a better use of Maine taxpayer dollars than to continue to pursue this idea.
PSM is still monitoring public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. Here’s a quick round-up of counterfeit news published the week May 11, 2020.
Last week PSM asked Congress to help protect the public from online COVID-19 scams by requiring domain name sellers to suspend and lock websites that facilitate health fraud and re-opening registration information so that law enforcement can pursue criminals using websites to take advantage of the public.
PSM is still monitoring public reports of dangerous counterfeit medical supplies and treatments. Here’s a quick round-up of counterfeit news published the week May 4, 2020.
Law enforcement is encountering problems kicking COVID-19 scammers offline. Learn how, and how we can fix it.
Research Study Confirms That Cheap And Safe Drug Importation Is Not Feasible Read the abstract for Dr. Acri’s article. In March 2020, the Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, an official journal of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, published a study by Dr. Kristina M.L. Acri née Lybecker titled “State Pharmaceutical Importation Programmes: An Analysis of…
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, PSM is keeping a steady eye on public reports of dangerous counterfeit drugs. Here’s a quick round-up of counterfeit news published the week of April 27th, 2020.
The FDA was established to protect Americans from adulterated food and medicines and from criminals selling ineffective, outrageous, and sometimes harmful treatments. Unfortunately, fake cures are fertile ground for profiteers, and no matter how many products the FDA seizes, more crop up. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the FDA has been working overtime to stop the sale of harmful and ineffective COVID “treatments.” This week PSM did some research in the FDA’s warning letter archives to survey fake COVID-19 cures.
In this edition: Senators take up ASOP’s Call To Arms on domain name scams, more fake test kits, and the nearly infinite pool of #covidscam domain names.
In this edition: ASOP letter to the White House, more fake test kits and treatments and HR 5663, the Safeguarding Therapeutics Act
In a letter dated April 9th, the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) has requested that the Vice President prioritize evidence-based messaging and focus energies on provable therapies for treating COVID-19. The letter also asks the Vice President to address the “systemic, structural Internet policy problems that enable COVID-19 scams online.”
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office is being kept very busy trying to shut down LA area COVID-19 testing schemes that being offered without FDA or local health department approval.
In this edition: LegitScript’s comprehensive report on COVID-19 cyberscams, U.K. man accused of selling fake COVID-19 cures, unauthorized COVID-19 testing sites in Kentucky,
Download our guide, AVOID SCAMS & COUNTERFEITS: Quick Tips to Safely Purchase Medicines Online (in English | en Español) to learn more about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from fake COVID-19 treatments.
In this edition: Rise of Fake ‘Corona Cures’ Revealed in Global Counterfeit Medicine Operation, Fake ‘COVID-19 Testing Kits’ Across North America, FDA Letter: Do Not Use Chloroquine Phosphate Intended for Fish as Treatment for COVID-19, and L.A. Warns of Coronavirus Consumer Issues.
Operation Pangea found more than 34,000 bogus surgical masks among the 4.4 million illicit pharmaceuticals and 37,000 counterfeit medical devices seized during their seven-day global effort to target counterfeit drug crime. In Los Angeles, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized counterfeit coronavirus test kits. #covidscams are on the rise.
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has recently become aware that some consumers may mistake chloroquine phosphate used to treat disease in aquarium fish for FDA-approved drugs (used to treat malaria and certain other conditions in humans) that are being studied as a COVID-19 treatment for humans. Unfortunately, we have learned that one person in the United States has died after he and his wife reportedly took chloroquine used to treat their fish in an attempt to prevent COVID-19; his wife also became very ill. We are continuing to investigate this incident.
According to the LA City Attorney’s Office, they have taken action to remove Internet ads that made false claims about COVID-19 prevention and treatment. The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have already issued a warning that there are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat COVID-19.
For 78 days, the Department of Health and Human Services accepted public comment on the proposed rulemaking that would allow states to establish drug importation programs, individuals and organizations submitted 1,210 comments, and PSM read each of them. Here are what we feel are the most important takeaways…
“What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. These warning letters are just the first step. We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”
Each year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration pools the knowledge of law enforcement agencies around the country to produce its National Drug Threat Assessment. This year, fentanyl, counterfeit prescription pills, and the pill presses are all listed as things that will continue to endanger American lives…
Yesterday ended a 78-day comment period for the White House’s proposal to import medicine from Canada. In all, over 1,000 comments were filed. Overwhelmingly, these comments opposed the proposed rule or expressed skepticism that the rule could meet the two requirements listed in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003: be safe and save consumers money. In fact, when you read the comments, it is clear that this policy is overwhelming opposed by experts on the issues of economics and medicine safety.
According to a notice on the L.A. City Attorney’s website, the Dominguez family allegedly ran a counterfeit drug operation that sold approximately 13,848 counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals, including counterfeit and misbranded versions of anti-seizure and blood pressure medications, injectable birth control and steroids, among others.
This editorial by Peter J. Pitts was published in The Times Weekly on March 3, 2020. Mr. Pitts is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a former FDA associate commissioner. Keep Canadian drugs out of U.S. medicine cabinets The Trump administration recently proposed two rules that would allow states, pharmacies,…
WHOIS data is searchable registrar information available for all websites on the Internet. It has long been used to trace criminal websites that host counterfeit and illicit drug sales, human trafficking, child pornography, and illicit and copyrighted content, as well as the websites of spammers, denial-of-services and phishing attackers, and other fraudsters.
In this editorial in The Globe and Mail, Ujjal Dosanjh, formerly a federal minister of health and a premier of British Columbia, explains that drug manufacturers have no incentive to sell Canadian provinces more medicine to fill the needs of U.S. residents. Importation will lead to drug shortages in Canada and counterfeit drug trafficking to the U.S.
This is a reprint of an FDA Alert. When a company announces a recall, market withdrawal, or safety alert, the FDA posts the company’s announcement as a public service. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company. Company Announcement Date: February 24, 2020 FDA Publish Date: February 24, 2020 Product Type: Dietary Supplements…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just announced a successful joint operation with the Government of India targeting counterfeit prescription drugs, counterfeit over-the-counter medications, fake medical devices, and misbranded dietary supplements containing harmful ingredients.
Today The Partnership for Safe Medicines filed comments with Health and Human Services about the dangers posed by its draft regulations for state-based Canadian drug importation programs. PSM cited historic problems with and patient harm from Canadian vendors selling counterfeit medications to U.S. patients and medical practices; showed broad opposition to the plan by Canadian stakeholders; and provides alternatives that don’t impact patient safety.
According to a report from Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment 2019, “Counterfeit pharmaceuticals pose a growing threat to the EU, affecting a large number of Member States. A wide and increasingly diverse range of medicines is targeted by counterfeiters.”
The Europol ICP Threat Assessment reports that there has been an increase in seizures of counterfeit drugs used in the treatment of serious illnesses, as well as a growing number of counterfeit drug incidents affecting the legal drug supply chain.
Planet Drugs Direct, an online pharmacy based in Winnipeg, Canada, has announced a data breach. Hackers broke into their servers, exposing customers’ names, medical details, and contact and banking information. Legitscript is unequivocal in calling Planet Drugs Direct a “Rogue Internet Pharmacy,” their worst rating for online pharmacies, accusing them of violating state and federal laws.
Our infographic, “Counterfeiting by the Numbers,” highlights facts from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s January 2020 report, Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, which documents the extraordinary scale of the global counterfeiting market and its effects across all economic sectors—including medicines.
The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) stands with our law enforcement partners in commending the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for their swift passage of S.3201, which would extend the DEA’s temporary scheduling of fentanyl-related substances to be Schedule I controlled substances for an additional 15 months. Without this reauthorization, criminals could…
The Governor of New Jersey has just signed A-5037, a new law designed to increase penalties for counterfeit drug crimes committed in the state.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Stephan Caamano, who manufactured and sold at least 4.3 million counterfeit Xanax pills, will spend the next 13 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to his crimes…