Pharmaceutical crime: news in brief

Question mark tablets in blister
Featuring falsified anti-parasitic drugs, an update on pharma cargo thefts, Eli Lilly's spend on serialisation and allegations of a Turkish firm's involvement in the fake Avastin incident...

Ghana's Food and Drugs Authority is warning that it has encountered falsified copies of Janssen-Cilag's Vermox (mebendazole) - a drug used to treat parasitic worm infections - in the country's medicines supply chain. On analysis the suspect batches were found to contain no active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). One sample carries the batch number BLL 1V01 and an expiry date of December 2016; the other is labelled with the batch number DBL4G01 and purportedly expires in January 2016, according to the FDA.

Four more men have been indicted on charges stemming from the $80m burglary of an Eli Lilly warehouse in Enfield, Connecticut, in March 2010. Yosmany Nunez (41) Rafael Lopez (49), Alexander Marquez (40) and Amaury Villa (39) have been indicted on charges of conspiring to violate federal laws and theft. Another man - Amed Villa - pleaded guilty to similar charges last year. Some of the stolen goods - which included thousands of boxes of antipsychotic drug Zyprexa (olanzapine), Cymbalta (duloxetine), antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine), and cancer drug Gemzar (gemcitabine) as well as other medicines - were eventually recovered by police and federal agents in 2012.

Eli Lilly says it will spend around $110m implementing pack-level serialisation capabilities on its 40 packaging lines to allow track-and-trace of its products and help prevent falsification, with the bulk of the spend earmarked for the next two years, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star. That figure comes on tops of "millions" of dollars already being spent laboratory analyses, investigation and enforcement activity and authentication technologies such as colour-shifting inks on blister packs, according to the paper.

A North Carolina man accused of orchestrating the theft of around $16m in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and other products from retail outlets between 2006 and 2011 collapsed in court as his guilty conviction was being read out, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer. Steve Hale (64), the owner of Denver business Double D Distributing - was said to have suffered some form of seizure, according to his attorney Noell Tin.

Turkish drug exporter Ozay Pharmaceutical Co has been accused of being involved in the introduction of counterfeit Avastin into the US and other markets, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The news emerged after two Turkish men who worked at the firm - Ozkan Semizoglu and Sabahaddin Akman -  were arraigned on charges of smuggling adulterated and misbranded prescription cancer treatments into the US in February. The WSJ says Ozay is a family-owned business employing some 30 staff that says it exports medicines to 70 markets worldwide. The counterfeit Avastin was also discovered in Europe.

A container shipment of donated pharmaceutical products destined for Haiti was stolen in Miami, Florida, earlier this month en route to Port Everglades. The shipment container was being stored in a yard when it was targeted by the thieves, who made off with it using a white tractor. It was subsequently recovered - empty - in another area of Miami.

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top