Jewish World Review
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (KRT) Speaking from his Rx Depot storefront in Aventura, Fla., Carl Moore, chief executive of the 85-store chain, said Tuesday he will defy a demand from the Department of Justice that he stop helping seniors get discount drugs from Canada.
"They're trying to scare the living hell out of people," Moore said. "We're going to the mat. That's what you have to do when you want to stand up for social change. ... We're going to fight forever for the rights of citizens to access affordable medicines from Canada. ...
"I'm willing to go to prison for what I do."
The Justice letter said that if Moore did not sign a cease and desist order, the federal government would sue him to stop his business.
"There could be civil and criminal penalties," said William Hubbard, deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, speaking to The Herald by telephone. "But I think in this case a lawsuit is the most likely step."
Moore's business, based in Tulsa, Okla., helps seniors get drugs from Canadian pharmacies either through storefronts or over the Internet. Moore said he owns stores in 26 states that operate under the name Rx Depot or Rx of Canada.
The FDA sent Moore a warning letter in March that he was illegally assisting in the importation of drugs from Canada, and Moore defiantly expanded, rather than curtailed, his operation, Hubbard said.
FDA investigators have ordered drugs through Moore's facilities and found counterfeits, Hubbard said, particularly of an anti-depressant, Serzone. "It was a fake, a knock-off, and they sent too much. They were supposed to send a one month's supply and instead they sent two months'. We have lots of examples of people not getting the right drug," he said.
Hubbard said the FDA had focused on Moore because he was one of the pioneers in the business and because several state regulators have also opened investigations of his operations.
Moore said the only complaints against him that he knows of came from FDA investigators who bought drugs. "This a sting, no doubt about it. There's not one reported incident from a regular customer."
He said he is fighting for persons like his mother, 78, who lives on $1,100 a month. If she purchased her medications here, it would cost her $640, more than half her income. Using a Canadian pharmacy, she pays $227.
Moore said he thought "private interests" - the major U.S. pharmaceutical firms - were goading the FDA into taking action against him.
"This a real public threat," Hubbard of the FDA countered. "I'm a career federal employee for 32 years. I could care less about the pharmaceutical companies. I never worked for the drug industry. We have concrete evidence that these drugs are a real problem."
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