Feds get conviction in fake J&J test strips case

U.S. authorities can chalk up another small win in the escalating challenge of counterfeit drugs that have been showing up and putting patients at risk and compromising company reputations. A 61-year-old Florida man faces three years in jail after pleading guilty to federal charges that he sold counterfeit versions of Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) OneTouch diabetes test strips. Jacques Duplessis, a Canadian citizen who lives in Boynton Beach, bought 6,000 boxes of the fake strips from suppliers in the U.S. and China, and sold them to wholesalers in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal reports. He claimed that he didn't know they were fakes. He was part of a scheme that the newspaper says ranged from the U.S. to China to Pakistan, and which J&J worked relentlessly to foil after the counterfeit strips appeared in pharmacies in 2006. The problem of counterfeit drugs and products has only increased since then and the FDA and law enforcement are trying a variety of tactics to push back at it. Duplessis is the first person to be found guilty in the U.S. for the counterfeit test strip operation but the newspaper says a Chinese man was sent to jail there in 2007 for involvement. Test strips are used by diabetics to monitor their blood sugar levels and inaccurate readings can lead to using too much or too little insulin, which can be life-threatening. Story | More

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