Midwest Veterinary Supply (MVS) was sentenced on June 12 in federal court to one year of probation for introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. The company also agreed to pay more than $11 million in criminal fines and forfeiture.
The Minnesota-based company, which supplies prescription drugs for animals, shipped prescription drugs from 2011-21 from their nonpharmacy locations throughout the United States to users who were not authorized to receive prescription drugs, according to court documents.
Midwest charged and shipped at least $10.1 million worth of these misbranded drugs to end users, according to the United States Attorney's Office of the Western District of Virginia. Veterinarians, farms, feedlots, and other businesses specifically listed were the only consumers that should have been receiving the prescription drugs. The law violated is designed, in part, to ensure that prescription drugs are kept within a controlled chain of distribution to prevent diversion and inappropriate use.
As part of the plea agreement, MVS will forfeit $10.2 million of misbranded drug income and serve one year of probation. Midwest will also pay $1 million to the Virginia Department of Health Professions (VDHP), and a $500,000 fine.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates animal drugs to protect both animal and public health. This includes ensuring that prescription animal drugs are lawfully distributed and dispensed using a valid prescription.
"The FDA recognizes the importance of controlling the prescription drug supply for animals. The careless or uncontrolled distribution of prescription animal drugs poses a danger not only to the medicated animals but to the U.S. public health by increasing the risk that humans will become resistant to antibiotics that we unknowingly consume through our food supply," said George A. Scavdis, special agent in charge of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations' (OCI) Metro Washington Field Office, in a press release.
The FDA OCI and the Virginia State Police investigated the case, with the assistance of the VDHP.