DEA MOVES TO HALT INTERNET PILL FRAUD

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

The US Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA) is moving to close downwhat federal officials are calling a "genericpill fraud scheme" involving the sale ofbogus Canadian generic drugs over theInternet. Those charges were leveled atthe operators of Norcross, Ga-based Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, an outfit that theDEA says produced a number of prescriptionand controlled substances underunsafe conditions in the Caribbean, thenmarketed on the Internet as low-costgeneric drugs from Canada.

Hi-Tech allegedly produced ~24 differentknockoff medicines that were marketedthrough spam advertisements on theInternet as authentic generic versions ofthose drugs being imported from Canada.According to the DEA, the drugs includedsteroids such as oxymetholone andstanozolol, along with unapproved versionsof controlled drugs such as Ambien(zolpidem tartrate),Valium (diazepam), andXanax (alprazolam). The defendants alsomanufactured versions of prescriptiondrugs such as Viagra (sildenafil citrate),Cialis (tadalafil), Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium),and Vioxx (rofecoxib).

Between 2002 and 2004, the companyallegedly ordered enough active ingredientsto manufacture millions of pills, manyof which were then shipped into theUnited States to various wholesalers, aswell as to individuals who purchased thedrugs after receiving Internet spam.