You have heard about the FBI Top 10 Most Wanted list, and of the America's Most Wanted television show, which ran for 23 seasons, but are you familiar with the FDA's list of Most Wanted Fugitives?
Yes, the drug oversight agency has bad players who have fled that it would like to bring to justice. And it would like your help to do that.
Special Agent Daniel Burke, senior operations manager in the FDA's Cybercrimes Investigations Unit, said the agents in the unit were kicking around ideas earlier this year on how to get past the dead ends they had hit with some of the fugitives they were looking for. "We have some that have eluded us for quite a while, and we were trying to look out of the box," Burke explained.
The site provides a one-stop shop to point investigators from around the world to, since most of the tips traditionally come from the global policing agency Interpol. "We are trying to leverage out existing partnership with Interpol and the U.S. Embassies," Burke said.
Burke and his colleagues figure some of these jokers may have set up similar operations in other countries and so hope to get the industry on the lookout as well. "Any exposure we can get to help bring these guys to justice is what we are looking for and since people in industry pay more attention there is an audience, for sure," Burke said.
The list of 11,which was culled from a much larger one that Interpol has put together, includes some motley players from the fringes of pharma. Most of them are foreign nationals who took off when it was apparent that they were going to jail. They include Armenian Nuritsa Grigoryan, who was scheduled to be sentenced to 35 years in prison in June but disappeared in February. She used identity theft to generate thousands of prescriptions and then sold the drugs into the legit supply chain. Indian Dushyant Mahendrabhai Patel's Raleigh, NC, company sold untested syringes of heparin that were tied to the deaths of at least 5 people and the hospitalizations of hundreds. Several used the Internet to sell counterfeit drugs and one bilked ALS sufferers with an unproven stem cell scheme.
Sad as some of the cases are, they provide an interesting read, not unlike a true crime book. Burke and his colleagues hope you will check it out. If you have even a hunch that you have crossed paths with one of these folks, the website provides a simple way to contact the agency. Those who report can remain anonymous. -- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)