An Ohio-based veterinary prescription drug company will pay more than $23 million in criminal fines and forfeitures after pleading guilty to criminal misbranding of drugs.
Covetrus North America LLC will be sentenced on May 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Abington.
According to the agreement, Covetrus will forfeit $21.5 million, pay $1 million to the Virginia Department of Health Professions, and pay a fine of $1 million.
According to court documents, from March 2019 to December 2021, Covetrus shipped more than $20 million in prescription drugs from their non-pharmacy locations throughout the United States to end-users that were not authorized to receive prescription drugs.
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia takes the distribution of misbranded prescription drugs seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh. “Covetrus shipped over $20 million in prescription drugs to unauthorized end-users in violation of federal laws that are designed to ensure prescription drugs are kept within a controlled chain of distribution and to prevent diversion and inappropriate use. Today’s result demonstrates my office’s commitment to holding those companies and corporations accountable when they seek to profit by breaking the law.”
Shipments from non-pharmacy locations to non-authorized end-users or locations are deemed misbranded.
“The FDA recognizes the importance of controlling the prescription drug supply for animals. The careless or uncontrolled distribution of prescription animal drugs poses a danger not only to the medicated animals but to the U.S. public health by increasing the risk that humans will become resistant to antibiotics that we unknowingly consume through our food supply.” said Special Agent in Charge George Scavdis, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations – Metro Washington Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who distribute prescription animal drugs unlawfully.”
As part of the agreement, Covetrus is obligated to keep in place appropriate compliance measures to prevent future violations.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Virginia State Police investigated the case with the assistance of the Virginia Department of Health Professions.