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Cartels and Counterfeits: International Organized Crime And Counterfeit Drugs

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Panel for congressional briefings hosted by The Partnership for Safe Medicines and partner organizations, September 24, 2019.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Cartels and Counterfeits: International Organized Crime And Counterfeit Drugs

  1. 1. Cartels and Counterfeits: International Organized Crime And Counterfeit Drugs Charlie Cichon, Executive Director NADDI Andrea Thomas, Counterfeit victim family advocate, Voices for Awareness Foundation Armando Rivera, Security Lead at Bristol-Myers Squibb, DEA veteran Mark Baughman, Retired DEA and Florida Sheriff’s Office
  2. 2. Report Findings ● Pill presses are broadly available for sale on the Internet and they are virtually untracked. ● Novice criminals make millions of nearly perfect-looking counterfeits, with deadly consequences. ● Possession of a pill press without molds is at most a violation of a DEA registration requirement carrying no jail time. ● Disrupting the availability of pill presses will be a challenging process. Released March 2019
  3. 3. Resources for learning more
  4. 4. Andrea co-founded, with D’Ann Hopkins, the Voices for Awareness Foundation, a Grand Junction, Colorado-based non- profit which raises awareness about substance abuse, addiction prevention, recovery, and counterfeit drugs, as well as bringing awareness to mental health issues relating to self-harm. Andrea Thomas
  5. 5. Ashley Romero Andrea’s daughter, Ashley Romero, died on June 11, 2018 after taking a counterfeit prescription Oxycodone to alleviate the pain of her pancreatitis. The pill was fentanyl laced and killed her almost instantly.
  6. 6. R. Armando Rivera is the Illegal Trade Americas and NACC Security Lead for Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as an 18-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration. R. Armando Rivera
  7. 7. Dangers of counterfeit and adulterated medications Case Examples
  8. 8. English Pack Opdivo Counterfeit Case ● Mexico 2019 - Counterfeit Opdivo® (prescribed for multiple types of cancer) ● Two patients in remission provided counterfeit units ● NGO used to legitimize counterfeit units ● Forged letter using Canadian cancer institute to justify use of English packs ● Lab results indicate cancer has returned in one of the patients ● Investigations led to the raid of a pharmacy but no arrests so far
  9. 9. Drug for Respiratory Distress Syndrome ● Colombia 2018 ● Survanta®: prescribed for prevention & treatment of RDS in premature babies ● Product diverted in Venezuela; sold to clinics & government sanctioned health care providers in Colombia ● At least 16 premature babies died at one clinic ● 20 individuals arrested
  10. 10. Counterfeit Sprycel Case ● Mexico 2018-2019 ● Patient in his 60s and adolescent received counterfeit Sprycel® (indicated for chronic myeloid leukemia) ● Counterfeit product sourced from a registered distributor that sourced it from an unregistered source ● Payment made through an insurance company that paid 1/3 of the market price set by BMS . No red flags by procurement ● Family of adolescent filed a complaint since his cancer, which was in remission had returned ● Sources identified and case referred to authorities ● No action as of yet
  11. 11. BMS Orencia involved with TC Medical case 2 complaints from Jacksonville, Florida T.C. Medical Group, Ontario Unauthorized distributor Orencia Order Sourcing Point in Turkey Orencia Dispensed from Turkey Ordered US FDA-OCI & Key BMS Business Units Part of a $15M conspiracy scheme Intelligence passed to Mutilated cartons hide pedigree & put patients at risk Cold-chain Orencia sent direct to US
  12. 12. TC Medical (aka Clinic Care Direct) • Texas infusion center receives blast fax from Clinic Care Direct offering Orencia, a cold-chain infusion medicine • Test purchase initiated but unable to obtain product; federal indictment soon followed Email sent direct to Texas Infusion CenterMisuse of BMS Glyph logo on website to feign legitimacy and drive sales
  13. 13. Mark Baughman Mark Baughman is a 35-year law enforcement veteran, who is retired from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and retired Captain from the Pinellas County (FL) Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division.
  14. 14. Operation “Top Dog Hot Dog”
  15. 15. Operation “Top Dog Hot Dog” Total Seizures: • 21 Subjects Arrested • 5 Pill Presses capable of producing thousands of pills hourly • 5,479.4 g Fentanyl & Fentanyl Derivatives • 3,101 g N-Ethylpentylone (Molly) • 999 Fentanyl pills (Represented by dealers as Oxycodone/Percocet) • 97.1 g Marijuana • 49.4 g Cocaine • 14.2 g Alprazolam • $1,552,750 in US Currency/ $458,000 in Real Estate/ $68,520 in Jewelry • $309,060 in Luxury Vehicles (Audi R8, Aston Martin DB9, Maserati Quattroporte, Porsche Panamera) • 10 Firearms including high capacity magazines and ammunition

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