Guilty Plea to Importing Illegal Cancer Drugs - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Guilty Plea to Importing Illegal Cancer Drugs


Sabahaddin Akman, owner of the Istanbul, Turkey, firm Ozay Pharmaceuticals, has pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling misbranded and adulterated cancer treatment drugs into the United States, FDA reports.

Akman pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, in St. Louis, Mo., where he initially shipped his illegal drugs. The drugs did not meet the FDA’s standards and had not been approved for distribution in the United States.
The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations coordinated a complex, multi-layered international investigation that led to Akman’s arrest in Puerto Rico in January 2014. The investigation identified Akman and his company as a source of Altuzan, the Turkish version of the cancer treatment drug Avastin.

Akman, along with his employee, Ozkan Semizoglu, obtained the illicit drugs and then used shipping labels to conceal the illegal nature of the shipments, including customs declarations falsely describing the contents as gifts. They also broke large drug shipments into several smaller packages to reduce the likelihood of seizures by US Customs and Border Protection authorities, FDA reports.

Along with the FDA and Europol, the international operation involved several German government offices, as well as the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service assigned to the US Embassy’s Regional Security Office in Ankara, Turkey, and the USConsulate General’s Overseas Criminal Investigations Branch in Istanbul, Turkey.

Source: FDA

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