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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pharmacist Sentenced for Conspiring to Smuggle Misbranded Drugs into U.S.

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to three years probation on each count to run concurrently, with 6 months in home detention; forfeiture in the amount of $650,000; $15,000 fine, and $200 special assessment on his conviction of conspiracy to smuggle misbranded drugs and conspiracy to money launder, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon imposed the sentence on Jeffrey A. Markovitz, age 62, of Clairton, Pa., who previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle into the United States drugs made for foreign markets, and conspiracy to money launder.

According to the information presented to the court, Markovitz, a pharmacist, previously owned Dierken’s Pharmacy in Monangahela, Pa. He ordered drugs from a Canadian company that sold drugs made in several other countries such as Spain and Turkey. Markovitz used these foreign made drugs to fill prescriptions. Markovitz wire transferred to Canada a total of $55,895.38 in payment for the smuggled drugs. All drugs in the United States are required to be monitored from manufacture to wholesale distribution to ultimate consumption by patients. In the event of a recall, this closed system enables warnings to be given to patients to not to consume a recalled drug. Foreign made drugs escape any oversight that all legitimate companies must undergo. Thus, the importation and sale of foreign made drugs destroy the protections provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that ensure the safe handling of drugs by manufacturers and wholesalers, and that protect patients from consuming a recalled drug.

Assistant United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song commended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Jeffrey A. Markovitz.

Topic(s): 
Prescription Drugs
Updated September 27, 2017