Investigations into fake cancer drug ‘Avastin’ lead to Barbados-based global counterfeit medicine empire.
(IP) Barbados – Thousands of medical centers and physicians have purchased a worthless counterfeit of the chemotherapy medicine ‘Avastin’, prescribed for treatment of lung cancer. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a flurry of alerts confirming that a fake version of the cancer treatment drug was being peddled to unwary buyers abroad.
CBS News broadcast the results of its recent investigation into the source of the distribution of the phony medication, stating that their trace ended at a Barbados-based pharmaceutical distribution company. Neither the FDA nor CBS News went so far as to identify the company they concluded to be the source of the counterfeit medications, however, a local newspaper – the Barbados Free Press (BFP) – conducted an investigation of its own into the local company identified in the CBS report as being located in the Warrens Industrial Park, Saint Michael, Barbados.
According to the BFP, whose website contains links to the original CBS news video footage, as well as photos of Internet domains listing personnel of a ‘front business’ peddling fake drugs, not only the FDA, but authorities in the UK and Denmark are investigating the black-market supply of fake Roche Avastin – an intravenous chemo-therapy drug.
Some medical facilities purchased fake Roche Avastin from a company called ‘Volunteer Distrubution’ in Gainseboro, Tennessee, while purchases destined for outside of the US, were made through ‘Quality Specialty Products’ and ‘Montana Health Care Solutions’.
Barbados Free Press identified the three drug distribution ‘companies’ above, along with literally thousands of Internet domain names and websites that peddle fake medicines worldwide were linked by paper trail to Tom Haughton and associates, headquartered in Barbados.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that a significant fraction of the world's drug supply is counterfeit. While the scope of the problem is unknown, the WHO estimates that up to 60% of drugs in some developing countries are fake, and up to 20% in some developed countries are fake. Overall, approximately 10-15% of all drugs sold in the world are counterfeit. Through importation and re-importation, fake drugs enter into country supplies and end up in drug stores and, ultimately, in patients who ingest or are injected with them.
In 2004, FDA officials discovered that a large proportion of Mexican drugs imported by US citizens were fake; and in May 2005, the FDA issued warnings on fake Lipitor, Viagra, and an unapproved osteoporosis drug being imported over the Mexican border by US citizens. Importation also occurs when purchases are made by mail and on the internet, where millions of dollars of black-market medicines are trafficked. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently indicated that in New York alone, there were nearly 100,000 instances of fake drugs used to fill prescriptions.
The domain ‘Mthcs.us’, listed on a drug order price sheet displayed in the CBS news report, was shown to be the parent domain of CheapoDrugs.com, affordablemedsofcanada.com, and Oncologymedicine.com – along with more than 3,700 other websites – identified as distributors of counterfeit medicines to and from Barbados and the Caribbean, Central and South America and to other destinations around the world.
Tom Haughton was also connected to numerous on-ground ventures including CD (BARBADOS) LOGISTICS CO LTD, GDS Licensing LTD, Global Drug Supply Ltd., all listed at the Warrens Industrial Park address, Barbados.
The FDA is continuing its investigation of the companies in question, and the government of Barbados is also completing its own probe, into what is perhaps a new venture for global organized crime.
A steamroller destroys fake medicine as locals watch during a campaign against fake medicine organized by the local drug administration.