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Press Release

Pharmacist Charged with Illegally Distributing Prescription Cough Syrup and Earning Millions in Profits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

Detroit, MI – A licensed pharmacist was charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and illegally dispensing prescription cough syrup worth millions of dollars in an indictment unsealed today, U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Lynda M. Burdelik, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office.

Zaman Alshafey, 35, of Dearborn, Michigan, was the owner and operator of Med Pro Pharmacy in Livonia, Michigan. Alshafey is charged with distributing misbranded drugs as the promethazine cough syrup was not safe for use except under the supervision of a practitioner licensed by law to administer the drug. Dispensing of promethazine cough syrup without valid prescriptions caused the drugs to become misbranded.     

According to the Indictment, from January 2018 to March 2021, Alshafey ordered more than 300,000 pint-sized bottles of promethazine cough syrup from various wholesale distributors who operate outside the State of Michigan. Alshafey then sold the cough syrup to drug dealers without a valid prescription from a licensed practitioner, and he failed to disclose this to the wholesalers. Alshafey paid the wholesalers via wire transfers from funds derived from the unlawful dispensing of the cough syrup.

“A pharmacist violates the public’s trust by unlawfully dispensing any drug. We will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners, to identify and target those in the medical community who illegally dispense prescription drugs onto the street.” Ison said.  

“Selling misbranded prescription drugs puts all consumers’ health at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Lynda M. Burdelik, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who jeopardize the public’s health.”

This case was investigated by special agents with the Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Regina R. McCullough.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated November 16, 2022

Prescription Drugs