A California man has been sentenced to 24 months in prison and has agreed to forfeit $1.4 million and a Land Rover automobile for conspiring to distribute adulterated prescription drugs to physicians across the country.
According to his plea agreement, James Newcomb admitted to distributing prescription drugs that had not been approved for use in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Newcomb would sell the foreign-bought drugs to U.S. doctors at 14 to 60 percent off the average wholesale price of legitimate drugs in the United States, FDA said in a release.
Newcomb also admitted to distributing “cold chain” cancer chemotherapy drugs that require storage in temperatures between 36° and 46° F. According to FDA, if cold chain drugs are left at room temperature for longer than 24 hours, the drugs should be discarded. In 2010, Newcomb learned that a Missouri doctor received a shipment of cold chain drugs that appeared to be melted and left at room temperature. FDA said the drugs were “adulterated” under federal law, as their storage and shipment was inappropriate and did not comply with U.S. law.
“This sentence aptly reflects the serious nature of this crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office. “Americans must have confidence that their health care providers are receiving and administering drugs that fully comply with U.S. laws. The FDA will aggressively pursue all those who seek to profit from causing the importation and distribution of foreign drugs that are adulterated and misbranded.”
The case was investigated by FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigation and the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with help from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service of the U.S. Department of Defense.