In a statement on its website, Gilead said “in coordination with U.S. marshals and local law enforcement, Gilead has seized 17 locations in nine states and seized thousands of bottles of Gilead-labeled medicine with counterfeit supply chain documentation.”
During a two-year investigation, “evidence showed that the accused distributor sold 85,247 bottles” of the counterfeit substances, according to the statement.
The bottles were labeled Biktarvy and Descovy, two popular medicines to help treat HIV-1.
An ongoing investigation “revealed that pharmaceutical distributors who were not authorized by the company to sell Gilead medicine were selling medicines to pharmacies that they obtained from various fly-by-night devices as part of the illegal counterfeiting scheme.”[ads1];
In August 2021, Gilead warned of the counterfeits, sending out a consumer alert at the time.
In court documents, which were filed in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York in July 2021, Gilead asked the court to prevent certain distributors from “selling all Gilead drugs, whether genuine or counterfeit.” In addition, it asks that the defendants stop “misrepresenting themselves as affiliated with Gilead or sponsored by or associated with Gilead.”
The complaint, which was opened by a judge on Tuesday, claimed in a glaring example that “the tablets in these bottles were not Gilead’s HIV drugs. They were completely different drugs.”
An external laboratory tested the drugs and is said to have found “the most common content of the counterfeits tested was quetiapine furmarate, a non-Gilead … prescription antipsychotic drug with a number of known serious side effects,” the complaint states.
Attempts by CNN to reach lawyers for the defendants were unsuccessful.
Gilead warned of the dangers of using counterfeit medicine. “Counterfeit and manipulated drugs can result in serious and / or life-threatening health risks,” it said, adding that “they are not equivalent in quality, safety and / or efficacy to real drugs.”
“Patient safety is our top priority, and our actions have been instrumental in removing counterfeit HIV drugs from the US supply chain and protecting individuals who depend on our drugs,” said Lori Mayall, Head of Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection at Gilead Sciences. a statement. “Based on our actions, we believe we have succeeded in stopping these defendants from distributing further falsified versions of Gilead drugs to patients.”