Once admitting guilt to criminal misbranding of pharmaceuticals, an Ohio-based veterinary prescription drug firm will forfeit and pay more than $23 million in criminal fines.
At 10:30 a.m. on May 8, Covetrus North America LLC will receive its sentencing at the U.S. Federal Courthouse located in Abington.
The agreement states that Covetrus will forfeit $21.5 million, provide the Virginia Department of Health Professions $1 million, and pay a $1 million fine.
Court records show that between March 2019 and December 2021, Covetrus distributed over $20 million worth of prescription medications to end users who weren’t allowed to get them from their non-pharmacy sites around the country.
U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh stated, “The distribution of misbranded prescription drugs is taken seriously by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.”
“In violation of federal rules intended to ensure prescription pharmaceuticals are kept within a controlled chain of distribution and to avoid diversion and inappropriate use, Covetrus sent over $20 million worth of prescription drugs to unidentified end users. The outcome of today shows how committed my office is to holding businesses and corporations responsible when they breach the law in an attempt to make money.
Shipments to unapproved end users or areas from non-pharmacy establishments are considered misbranded.
“The FDA understands how critical it is to manage the availability of prescription drugs for animals. According to Special Agent in Charge George Scavdis of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations – Metro Washington Field Office, “the negligent or unregulated distribution of prescription animal drugs poses a danger not only to the medicated animals but also to the public health of the United States by increasing the risk that humans will become resistant to antibiotics that we unknowingly consume through our food supply.” “We will not give up on finding and prosecuting those who illegally distribute prescription animal drugs.”
Covetous is required under the agreement to maintain suitable compliance mechanisms to stop such infractions.
With cooperation from the Virginia Department of Health Professions, the case was looked into by the Office of Criminal Investigations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Virginia State Police, and others.