Pharmacy Exec Charged|in Fake Drug Scheme

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A top PharmacyChecker.com executive will be arraigned on charges related to the sale of $78 million worth of mislabeled and counterfeit prescription drugs, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
     PharmacyChecker.com director of pharmacy policy and international verifications Ram Kamath, of Illinois, is one of 14 individuals and companies charged with crimes relating to the illegal pharmaceutical sales. Other indicted companies include PharmD and Winnipeg-based CanadaDrugs.com.
     Only Kamath will be arraigned Tuesday as the other defendants are located outside the United States and have not yet been extradited, the Justice Department said.
     The federal grand jury’s indictment – handed down this past November and unsealed on Aug. 11 – includes charges of smuggling, improper storage, falsifying customs declarations, money laundering and conspiracy.
     According to the indictment, CanadaDrugs.com and its affiliates illegally purchased the mislabeled and counterfeit prescription drugs abroad and routed them through Egypt and Barbados for sale to doctors in the United States.
     As to Kamath’s role in the scheme, federal prosecutors claim that when the Food and Drug Administration began investigating CanadaDrugs.com’s distribution of counterfeit versions of the cancer drug Avastin in 2012 Kamath agreed to store the counterfeit drug in his garage while CanadaDrugs shipped its inventory back to the United Kingdom.
     Since 2001, CanadaDrugs.com has been the preeminent Canadian Internet drug outlet selling to U.S. customers. The online pharmacy has been certified as “safe and legitimate” by PharmacyChecker.com and the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, the Justice Department said.
     New York-based PharmacyChecker.com claims the foreign drug suppliers on its website are legitimate and safe, although prosecutors point out that it is illegal to order prescription drugs online and the dot-com’s suppliers have been the subject of counterfeit drug warnings.
     “For years millions of patients and physicians have relied upon PharmacyChecker.com and CanadaDrugs.com, believing they are getting genuine drugs from a real Canadian pharmacy,” Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies founder and executive director Libby Baney said in a statement. “The DOJ indictment evidences that these entities have been touting myths, giving U.S. physicians and consumers a false – and consequently dangerous – sense of confidence.”

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