Indian-American couple pleads guilty for selling fake drugs

Indian-American couple pleads guilty for selling fake drugs

The couple, 47-year-old Nita Patel and 57-year-old Harshad Patel, offered 'generic' forms of patented pharmaceutical products for sale over the internet, the source of which was an Indian company, court documents said.

They face a maximum of 10 years of jail prison and a USD 250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Sentencing is currently scheduled for August 23.
Another Indian Moloy Ghosh, 31, has already pleaded guilty in the case and been sentenced to eight months in jail.

All three were arrested and charged by the federal authorities on April 2.
According to court documents, when contacted by an undercover law enforcement officer, Nita Patel provided price list of products offering for sale 'Generic Viagra', 'Generic Cialis', and 'Generic Levitra', each of which is a patent- protected erectile dysfunction drug manufactured in the US.

Over the course of several months, Nita and her husband negotiated with the undercover officer for sale of more than 300,000 tablets of counterfeit drugs, including the erectile dysfunction drugs, as well as counterfeit versions of Abilify (a drug used for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), Lexapro (a drug used for the treatment of depression), and Plavix (a drug used as an anti-coagulant).

All of the counterfeit drugs were shipped from Ghosh's business in India, where he lived and worked before traveling to the US on a business visa on April 2 last year — the day before he was arrested.

Ghosh and Nita used fictitious names on Customs Declaration forms in order to avoid detection.

Had the drugs the defendants sold to the undercover law enforcement officer been authentic, they would have had a wholesale acquisition cost of more than USD 2.5 million, an official statement said.
The tablets, which in some cases were designed to mimic the appearance of the legitimate drugs, were not tested or approved by the FDA for distribution in the US, and had labels that did not contain required safety warnings, authorities said.