Valley News -

Prosecutors urge public to steer clear of illegal pharmaceuticals


Last updated 6/27/2018 at 12:37pm

RIVERSIDE – Pharmaceuticals purchased from unauthorized vendors may contain hazardous substances that endanger the buyer’s health, so stay away from them, Riverside County officials warned recently.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin was joined by former Rep. Mary Bono of Palm Springs and others for a news briefing in downtown Riverside announcing the seizure of 9,700 doses of different drugs that prosecutors alleged were being sold by unlicensed distributors – two in Corona, one in Moreno Valley and two in Riverside.

Seven people were involved in the operations, according to the district attorney’s office, and criminal charges have been filed against the parties.

According to the agency, the raids spotlight the ease with which misbranded or bogus pharmaceuticals can be sold.

“(The drugs) carry potential dangers, which can include missing key ingredients, having the wrong active ingredients, being the wrong strength and dosage, contaminants (and) improper labeling,” according to a district attorney’s office statement.

The agency said that unlawfully sold pharmaceuticals are at risk of poor-to-nonexistent oversight and may contain elements that trigger potentially deadly allergic reactions.

“At this time, the D.A.’s office doesn’t know if anyone has been harmed from using any of the illicit pharmaceuticals that were sold at any of the locations (raided by investigators),” the agency said.

Prosecutors noted that many illegally sold pharmaceuticals are imported from Mexico and target the Spanish-speaking community.

“Those drugs are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale or use in the United States,” according to the district attorney’s office. “Federal regulations require that all pertinent information ... on a medication’s label (be) in the English language.”

Educational campaigns are planned to ensure business owners and swap meet vendors countywide understand the law and the perils of illicit pharmaceuticals.

Anyone with information about sales of illegal drugs was asked to contact the district attorney’s office at (951) 955-4080.


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