Feds indict Canada Drugs for sales of fake and foreign Avastin

The FDA has been doggedly pursuing Canada Drugs and its affiliates after it tied counterfeits of Roche's ($RHHBY) cancer drug Avastin to the online pharmacy and wholesaler. Now the feds have fired off an indictment with a host of charges that include money laundering and conspiracy in addition to selling illegal and counterfeit drugs.

The indictment accuses the Winnipeg-based company and its affiliates in the U.K. and Barbados of selling $78 million worth of illegal drugs, the Associated Press reports. Those include a host of cancer and chemo drugs, including counterfeit Avastin. The feds say the drugmaker got the counterfeits when it bought out the inventory of another company and then shipped the fakes to doctors in the U.S. It also accuses the company of selling unapproved versions of Avastin in the U.S. that were made in Turkey and known as Altuzan there.

The news service, citing prosecutors, said sales into the U.S. went on until 2012 when the FDA began its investigation into the ties of Canada Drugs to the fake and unapproved Avastin. It said that according to the indictment, the company falsified customs documents by putting artificially low values on packages in hopes of avoiding scrutiny of shipments by U.S. customs officials.

The indictment was issued last fall but recently unsealed in federal court in Montana in the case of Ram Kamath, an Illinois man who pleaded not guilty to charges related to allegedly storing drugs that Canada Drugs was trying to retrieve from the U.S. after the FDA investigation began.

Last March, Canadian officials raided the offices of CanadaDrugs.com, one of the companies, but did not disclose the nature of its investigation. The investigations have also swept up U.S. doctors who knowingly bought Altuzan at discounts from the Canadian supplier.

- read the AP story