Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baltimore Pharmacist Charged with Fraud in Counterfeit Drug Case

1,700 pounds of suspected counterfeit drugs was found in two Medicine Shoppes in Maryland last year - In addition, the owner is being charged with Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

A year ago we wrote regarding two Medicine Shoppes in the Maryland area that had been cited for having expired drugs on their shelves. This, however, does not even begin to tell the true story of expired drugs, counterfeit drugs, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and the exportation of these drugs to Africa.

Pamela Arrey, a Maryland pharmacist, has most recently been charged with Medicare and Medicaid fraud. She is accused of charging about $350,000 to the federal insurance programs for drugs she never dispensed. In fact in some cases she billed for prescriptions the patients did not even request.

Last July, she was charged with mislabeling and selling counterfeit drugs when nearly 1,700 pounds of suspected counterefeit drugs were found at one of Arrey’s two Medicine Shoppes in Maryland. The durgs valued at $749,000, were medications to help epilepsy patients control seizures. Mislabeled, expired and suspected counterfeit drugs, including those designed to help fight breast cancer, were also found at Arrey’s second Baltimore Medicine Shoppe.

In August of last year, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) issued a press release warning to consumers who purchased prescriptions from Arrey’s pharmacies that the following drugs could be expired or counterfeit:

* Lisinopril (20 milligrams)
* Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan (600 mg and 1000 mg)
* Gabapentin (100 mg, 300 mg and 400 mg)
* Metoprolol (50 mg)
* Nifedipine (30 mg)
* Diclofenac Sodium (30 mg)
* Glucophage (500 mg Extended Release)
* Glucovance (125 mg and 500 mg)
* Glipizide/Metformin (2.50 mg/250 mg)
* Furosemide (20 mg)
* Tamoxifen Citrate (10 mg)
* Metformin HCl ER (500 mg)
* Calcitrol (0.25 micrograms)

“The health and safety of Arrey’s pharmacy customers has been put in danger as Arrey, through her pharmacies, dispensed misbranded and expired drugs,” FDA Special Agent Matthew Rosenberg wrote in a sworn statement.

For more on this story....

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