How would you feel if the chemotherapy medication you were relying on to treat your loved one’s cancer was not the drug you thought it was? What if that drug was misbranded and illegally shipped overseas from a different country? One pharmaceutical company and its founder are paying a hefty price for attempting to get away with exactly this scheme, endangering countless patients in the process.
Virginia-based pharmaceutical company Gallant Pharma pleaded guilty last year to distributing thousands of packages of mislabeled drugs to doctors nationwide. Co-founder 39-year-old Syed ”Farhan” Huda of Arlington appeared in Federal Court to answer to charges of illegal importation and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, according to Boston.com
Court documents show that the company made millions in profits between 2009 and 2013 by, “illegally importing chemotherapy and cosmetic surgery drugs, in violation of the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory scheme (Boston.com).” The drugs were allegedly shipped from countries including Turkey and Switzerland. A major issue arises with drugs that need to be constantly temperature- controlled. Prosecutors believe these drugs were illegally shipped across multiple countries without proper adherence to safety guidelines, which can damage the drugs and reduce their efficacy.
Syed Huda was sentenced to three years in jail as a result of the scheme, while Gallant Pharma is required to pay $3.4 million in fines. Huda’s attorney attempted to argue for a lighter sentence, playing on the soaring prices for medication in the United States while the same drugs are notably cheaper in other countries. In court documents, Attorney Mark Schamel explains:
A more cynical person might argue that the crime that was perpetrated here was against the citizens of the United States who are paying two and three times the price for the same pharmaceuticals Canadians, EU patients and others across the world are paying (via Boston.com)
In total, twelve people have been convicted in connection with this case. Mislabeled drugs often come in a few different forms:
• A different drug than what was included in the container • A drug with the wrong dosage strength • A drug not identified as extended release (Source: FDA)
Risks associated with taking mislabeled drugs include:
• Overdose • Dangerous drug interactions • Unnecessary exposure to toxicity and side effects • Not receiving the therapeutic benefits from the correct drug
The FDA takes these cases very seriously, as the potential for serious injury and death is extremely high. The situation becomes especially dangerous when doctors, whom patients and their families must trust, are unknowingly administering mislabeled drugs that could cause serious harm.
It is the clear responsibility of Pharmaceutical companies such as Gallant Pharma to put the health and safety of the patients above any other interests. The actions of drug companies like this extend far beyond negligence and willingly put the patients at risk. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Boston drug injury lawyers represent adults and the families of children that have suffered personal injuries as a result of taking mislabeled and defective medication. Drugs shouldn’t cause serious injury to those who take the, and patients and their caretakers need to have absolute confidence in the drug they are administering. Contact our Massachusetts drug defect law firm today.
Our team of product liability and drug injury attorneys have decades of experience handling all types of drug injury cases.
Read the full article at Boston.com