Pharmacist sentenced in Missouri for distributing counterfeit and adulterated Botox

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An Indo-Canadian from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, who pleaded guilty to distributing counterfeit, wrongly branded, and adulterated Botox® into the United States, was sentence April 4, to 36 months in prison.

Nikhil Buhecha’s dealings also included sending multiple shipments to two doctors in St. Louis County, Missouri, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.

According to Buhecha’s plea agreement, he owned and operated a wholesale drug distribution business involving multiple persons in Canada, Panama, and Turkey.

Buhecha sourced Botox® from Turkey and shipped it to multiple U.S. doctors in Missouri and other states.

According to the label for Botox® Cosmetic that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), unopened vials of Botox® Cosmetic should be stored in a refrigerator at temperatures between 2° to 8° Celsius before dispensing to patients.  But Buhecha’s drugs were not kept at the specified temperatures. Furthermore, some of the Botox® sold by him had counterfeit exterior packaging, and the manufacturing lot numbers on the exterior of the drugs’ cartons did not match the lot numbers on the drug vials inside the cartons.

FDA issued several public safety alerts about these events.

This ongoing investigation has led to a number of other related prosecutions in the District, including Dr. Erick Falconer, Greg Martin, Ozkan Semizoglu, and Sabahaddin Akman, the press release said.

Two other Indo-Canadians were convicted and sentenced under similar charges in August 2015.  Kamaldeep Sandhu received a sentence of 24 months of imprisonment, while Navdeep Sandhu received a sentence of 3 months.

This case was investigated by FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, with assistance from the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as INTERPOL Washington and the U.S. Marshals Service.