Foreign cancer-drug dealer gets prison

The feds have taken another drug dealer off the streets. This one sold more than $7 million worth of unapproved foreign cancer drugs from Turkey, Pakistan, India and elsewhere to oncologists who were administering them to their patients.

A federal judge sentenced Martin Paul Bean III of Boca Raton, FL, to 24 months and made him fork over the Jaguar XJ they said he bought with his profits. He also was ordered to pay just over $19,000 in restitution to a victim. Bean in February pleaded guilty to conspiring to import unapproved foreign oncology drugs and selling them to doctors throughout the U.S. through his Boca Raton, FL, business, GlobalRxStore.

"This defendant blithely put the public's health at risk so he could line his own pockets," said Derek Benner, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations San Diego, CA. "This sentence should serve as a stern reminder about the potential consequences facing those who deal in imposter drugs with no regard for the dangers they pose to patients and consumers."

Those risks include the possibility the drugs are counterfeits. While U.S. doctors who buy the drugs may figure they are just getting a good deal on drugs that are essentially the same product as the FDA-approved version, federal authorities in a separate case this year turned up supplies of Altuzan that contained no active ingredient being sold to doctors in the U.S. Altuzan is the trade name in Turkey for essentially the same Roche ($RHHBY) drug that is sold as Avastin in the U.S. 

In the case of Bean and GlobalRXStore, the FDA says that between 2005 and 2011, the company sourced the drugs from around the world and had them shipped in bulk directly to Oberlin Medical Supply in San Diego, which repackaged them. Oberlin was operated by Maher Idriss, who in March 2012 pleaded guilty to conspiring with Bean's company. Drugs included Eli Lilly's ($LLY) Gemzar, Sanofi's ($SNY) Taxotere and Eloxatin, Novartis' ($NVS) Zometa and Roche's Kytril. Bean raked in $865,000 with his scheme.

After those two parted ways, Bean set up another online operation, MyRxStore, and did the same thing. U.S. authorities were tipped to the scheme in early 2010 by the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the U.K. It notified the FDA that it had intercepted a shipment of Gemzar coming from Pakistan that was being shipped to Oberlin Medical Supply.

- here's the FBI alert