Justice Department Investigates Drug-Trafficking Network for Selling Fake HIV Meds – Crime Report

The Crime Report (https://thecrimereport.org/2022/03/31/justice-department-investigates-drug-trafficking-network-for-selling-fake-hiv-meds/)
The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into a sprawling prescription drug-trafficking network that allegedly sold hundreds of millions of dollars of secondhand and fake medications — including HIV treatments made by at least a dozen drugmakers, including Gilead Sciences Inc., Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s ViiV Healthcare, reports the Wall Street Journal. The investigation follows allegations in a 2021 civil lawsuit filed by Gilead in which the drugmaker accused more than 70 defendants of taking part in a sweeping counterfeiting operation that sold more than $250 million of its drugs in the prior two years.
The HIV medications include drugs such as Gilead’s Biktarvy, which has a list price of $3,584 a month, and Johnson & Johnson’s Symtuza, which runs more than $4,000 a month, and are typically provided to low-income patients at little to no cost through federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid, or free by programs run by drugmakers for people without insurance. Medicines used to treat HIV can be attractive to defendants because of their high value and lower risk than trafficking illegal drugs, which can carry steep mandatory minimum sentences and are more dangerous to transport. The alleged counterfeit drugs date to at least August 2020, when Gilead said it received a report from a pharmacy in California of foreign medication in a Biktarvy bottle.
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