The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateNovember 1, 2010
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Google Amends Complaint: Adds Four Defendants to Online Pharmacy Case

On October 19, 2010, Google's attorneys filed an amended complaint in US District Court against four other defendants accusing them of violating the AdWords Program agreement to entice consumers to online pharmacies not approved by the National Association of Board of Pharmacies VIPPS certification program.


In addition to the two defendants originally named, Omar Jackman and John Doe "Simon," the complaint now adds Gregory Gavin, Amanda Odell, Joey Patron and Gina Wyant. Defendants Gavin, Odell and Patron reside in Clarkesville, Tennessee, according to the complaint and defendant Wyant resides in Columbiana, Ohio.

The complaint states that "on information and belief" the defendants worked together. Gavin allegedly registered a domain name, and then all four defendants allegedly opened a number of AdWords accounts to advertise the domain name. The complaint states the defendants were not verified by VIPPS, which is required by the Google AdWords agreement, in order to advertise pharmaceuticals.


In order to subvert Google's advertisement verification software, the four defendants allegedly ran an ad that misspelled and added a space in the brand name of an orally-effective anabolic steroid that is classified as a Schedule III medication, which can only be dispensed by prescription. It is commonly abused for muscle-building purposes among weight lifters and other athletes. The complaint states their advertisement stated "Nutropen-Gh noscript," shorthand for no prescription required and "100% Legal."


After the original ad was detected by Google's staff and the related accounts suspended, the complaint alleges the defendants opened at least six more AdWords accounts.

Top News


Canada Takes Part in Global Operation against Fake Drugs


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in New Brunswick were part of the recent global effort, termed Operation Pangea, to fight the sale of counterfeit drugs from illegal online pharmacies. Law enforcement officials warned consumers that many of the websites that claim to be Canadian pharmacies are in fact run from other countries around the world and are trading on the country's name, according to the Times and Transcript. "Worldwide, this is a huge problem and the RCMP's priority is to protect the health and safety of Canadians," said Moncton-based Federal Enforcement Section Sergeant Mark Bridges. Bridges said that many of these illegal online pharmacies that claim to be based in Canada cut medication with brick dust and use antifreeze or other chemicals to dye the pills in an attempt to make them look like a particular brand-name medication. "You just don't know what you're getting when you order from those websites," Bridges told the news source. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, October 28, 2010; Link here)

World News

UK: Counterfeit Drug Criminals Involve Innocent Neighbor


A UK grandmother got quite a surprise when a team of policeman raided her home expecting to find counterfeit drugs. Police entered Margaret Waite's Lockeridge home hoping to find criminals, and instead found a 69-year-old that pointed out that while they were on the right street, they were in the wrong house, according to Gazette and Herald. The police had a warrant for Waite's address because drugs that may have been counterfeit drugs were delivered there, even though they were addressed to her neighbor. Waite would take the packages from the postman and place them on her neighbor's porch, the news source reports. "I did have a few parcels come here some months ago with my address but for the man next door so as soon as I was handed them by the postman I would go and put them in his porch. I did not even notice where they had been sent from," Waite said. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, October 27, 2010; Link here)



Eastern Europe: Region Toughening Stance on Fake Drugs


Eastern Europe plays a major role in the counterfeit drug trade, said experts at a recent regional meeting. The two-day meeting was held in the capital of Romania, Bucharest, featured more than 120 anti-counterfeit specialists from Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, reports AFP. Hungarian customs officer Karolyi Szep said that Eastern Europe was heavily used by counterfeit drug traffickers. "There is an important Balkan route for fake medicines, which is the same as for heroin and other narcotics," he told the news provider. According to AFP, most counterfeit drugs are sold over the Internet. The World Health Organization says that half of the drugs sold from online pharmacies and other websites are counterfeit. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, October 26, 2010; Link here)



India: High Court Orders Investigation into Sale of Fake Malaria Kits


The Madras high court has ordered a detailed probe into the sale of fake malaria detection kits to city hospitals, and has asked the central and state governments to launch a campaign to spread awareness about counterfeit drugs and medical equipment. The court was passing orders on a petition filed by Dr C Anbarasu, chairman of the Indian Medical Association's paramedical wing. "We feel the public at large should be sensitized on issues as brought to light in this public interest litigation...and not fall prey to counterfeit drugs or use of improper diagnostic materials or equipment leading to improper diagnosis," the bench said. In his PIL, Anbarasu submitted that when he placed orders for 200 malaria detection kits with one Tamil Nadu Bio Medical, the latter gave fake kits but claimed they had been imported from Denmark. ("HC Orders Probe into Sale of Fake Malaria Kits," Times of India, October 27, 2010; Link here)


PSM Interchange

If you missed our recent conference, you can catch videotaped versions on C-SPAN, read the remarks of our keynote speaker, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, and view photos from our flickr archive. Visit our archives here.

Anti-Counterfeiting Americas (Boston, USA)

Monday, Nov 8, 2010
Description: PSM Executive Director Scott LaGanga is speaking at this conference.


Building Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Programs (Los Angeles, CA)


When: Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010

Where: University of Southern California (map)

Description: A one day course from the USC Regulatory Science Program and the Food and Drug Law Institute. For more information or to register see the USC page



International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (Singapore)


When: Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010

Where: Singapore (map)

Description: Website

About the Partnership for Safe Medicines
The Partnership for Safe Medicines is a group of organizations and individuals that have policies, procedures, or programs to protect consumers from counterfeit or contraband medicines. For more information, please visit