Armando Herrera, a resident of Miami, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute misbranded and adulterated HIV drugs worth up to $25 million. Herrera’s criminal activity involved setting up companies in Texas, California, and Washington that obtained large quantities of misbranded and adulterated HIV medication through legal channels. The drugs were then repackaged and sold to wholesalers at significantly reduced prices. These wholesalers subsequently distributed the drugs to pharmacies across the United States. While the wholesalers were aware of the illegal scheme, the pharmacies that dispensed the medication to unsuspecting patients were unaware that the drugs were altered or misbranded.
The misbranded and adulterated drugs included medications like Truvada and Biktarvy, both of which are used to treat HIV. Truvada is also prescribed to prevent HIV infection in individuals at risk. The drugs are manufactured by Gilead Sciences. Herrera and his co-conspirators received between $16.7 million and $25 million from two wholesalers for their illicit activities.
It is worth noting that medications can sometimes be diverted from the legal market by purchasing them from individual patients who have been prescribed the drugs. Herrera is now facing a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison for his role in the conspiracy. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 21. Neither Herrera nor his lawyer has provided immediate comments on the case. The pharmacies involved were unwittingly implicated in the distribution of these misbranded and adulterated drugs, highlighting the need for increased oversight and measures to prevent such illegal activities within the pharmaceutical supply chain.