Canada Drugs, an online Canadian pharmacy is expected to be fined $34 million for importing counterfeit cancer drugs and other unapproved pharmaceuticals into the United States. The company has filled millions of prescriptions. U.S. prosecutors assert Canada Drugs’ business is based on illegally importing unapproved and misbranded drugs not just from Canada, but from all over the world. The company earned about $78 million through illegal imports, including two that were counterfeit versions of the cancer drugs Avastin and Altuzan that had no active ingredient, prosecutors said.
Canada Drugs also will permanently cease the sale of all unapproved, misbranded and counterfeit drugs and will surrender all of the domain names for the myriad websites it used to sell the drugs, under the deal.Federal prosecutors wrote in court documents that the recommended sentence is appropriate.“The United States believes that the above-referenced sentence in an appropriate one reflecting the seriousness of Thorkelson’s conduct, the need for just punishment and adequate deterrence to future criminal conduct,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Spraker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Joseph wrote.
The case is being handled in the U.S. state of Montana, where Canada Drugs bought another company for its drug inventory and customer list when it was expanding in 2009. Canada Drugs continued to deposit money into that company’s Montana bank account from doctors’ purchase of the illegally imported drugs before the proceeds were shipped to offshore accounts in the Caribbean, prosecutors said.
The company and two overseas subsidiaries agreed to plead guilty to introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, and the subsidiaries also agreed to plead guilty to selling counterfeit drugs.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers