Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Unapproved foreign prescription drugs flow through local pharmacy
Martin Paul Bean III of Boca Raton, Florida is facing federal charges for selling more than $7 million worth of misbranded and unapproved oncology drugs through a San Diego pharmacy, the Latin American Herald Tribune reports.
Bean was indicted last week on 35 charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, selling unapproved and misbranded drugs, illegal importation, and money laundering. He faces the forfeiture of $7 million in proceeds from the scheme, a Jaguar automobile, and up to 131 years in prison.
The scheme involved the importation of drugs from India, Turkey, and Pakistan. Customers called into a center in Winnipeg, Canada, where doctors submitted orders for the drugs by phone, fax, or e-mail. The orders were then filled and mailed with an invoice from a local wholesale pharmacy to mislead the purchasing physicians into believing the drugs were approved for use in the United States.
“This investigation uncovered a very serious public health threat and should serve as a warning to those who put consumers at risk for their own financial gain,” Derek Benner, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego, told the Herald Tribune. Homeland Security was joined in the multiagency investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Idriss Maher, owner of the San Diego-based Oberlin Medical Supply and Service Corporation, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in March for his role in the scam. Maher faces sentencing next January.