Man Indicted for Running an Illegal Online Pharmacy
According to Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song, 57-year-old Rashid Mohammad Khan ordered and distributed illegal medications online between March 2015 and January 2017. A four count indictment accuses Khan of participation in a fraudulent drug importation and distribution scheme.
While participating with members of the conspiracy, Khan focused on the distribution of specific drugs. Overseas drug distributors, both known and unknown to the grand jury, arranged the shipment of illegal drugs to defendants in the United States. Resellers in Pennsylvania received many of the drugs shipped from suppliers overseas.
A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh indicted Khan on charges of one count of conspiracy, one count of using a false identity in an illegal business involving USPS, and two counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. Misbranded drugs, according to the FDA complaint, a “misbranded” drug is any drug that is not distributed with a prescription from a licensed doctor; any drug that is distributed without required warning labels; any drug manufactured in a facility not approved by the FDA; or any drug not approved by the FDA itself.
Various members of the conspiracy advertised the drugs on known and unknown sites and platforms online. On some of the websites, the conspirators advertised the medications as “FDA approved.” On “abortionpillrx.com,” Khan and his conspirators advertised mifepristone and misoprostol. The FDA has approved only one mifepristone drug: Mifeprex. Danco Labs produces the drug and “there are no approved generic versions of mifepristone,” the indictment reads.
In consistency with the majority of the FDA’s complaints, the indictment pressed the necessity for mifepristone “black box” warning labels. Khan distributed the drug without the labels. The defendant ordered, in one allegation, 600 mifepristone pills from overseas distributors. The customs declaration on the package claimed the contents were “health product sales” valued at $0.00.
After receiving an order for any given substance, Khan shipped the substance in a package with a false return address and name. This, according to the United States legal system, constitutes fraud. The indictment charged the 57-year-old with “the use of a false name and address” in operating an illegal business via the United States Postal Service.
The majority of the case against Khan centered around the alleged intent to mislead buyers by indicating that the drugs were approved by the FDA. According to the document, other conspirators operated the same type of illegal business. Both Khan and the overseas suppliers sold to “reshippers.” They were not named in the government’s case against Khan. Khan’s “intent to defraud or mislead” by introducing unauthorized medications charge is only a felony if the government can prove the defendant intended to mislead the customer.
For this reason, the government only pursued Khan for distributing drugs he had advertised on abortionpillrx.com. The site, on nearly every page, claims that “all the products we sell online are FDA approved.” Since the FDA had not approved the variants sold by Khan, these statements will carry significant weight in court. He currently faces a maximum of 16 years in prison.