Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations
U.S. Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 18, 2014
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Virginia
Contact: Press Officer
Over 17,000 units of unapproved chemotherapy and cosmetic drugs sold for over $10 million
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Anoushirvan Sarraf, 48, of Rockville, Maryland, the owner and operator of Aphrodite Advanced Esthetic & Skin Care Clinic (Aphrodite) in McLean, Virginia, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison and 2 years of supervised release.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Antoinette V. Henry, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations; Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Washington Field Division; Clark Settles, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington; Gary Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
On May 6, 2014, Sarraf was convicted of 13 counts related to his involvement in a scheme to illegally import thousands of vials of non-FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs, injectable cosmetic drugs and devices into the United States. According to court records and evidence at trial, Sarraf partnered with Gallant Pharma International Inc. (Gallant Pharma), an unlicensed wholesale prescription drug distributor headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, in exchange for a deeply discounted price on non-FDA-approved cosmetic drugs and devices. Over a period of several years, Sarraf used those cosmetic drugs and devices on hundreds of Aphrodite patients without the patients' knowledge or consent.
Sarraf allowed Gallant Pharma to use his medical license to order non-FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs and injectable cosmetics from around the world. Most drugs were shipped first to the United Kingdom, where a trans-shipper would repackage the drugs and send them to the United States in smaller packages addressed to Aphrodite, bearing false customs declarations. When the drugs arrived at Aphrodite, a member of the conspiracy would open the boxes, take what they wanted for Aphrodite, and call individuals from Gallant Pharma to retrieve the remainder. Many of the shipments involved "cold-chain" drugs subject to strict temperature controls (which were not followed by the conspirators), and the use of these drugs posed serious potential harm to chemotherapy and cosmetic patients throughout the United States. During the three years that the partnership lasted, more than 17,000 units of non-FDA-approved pharmaceuticals passed through Aphrodite and were sold by Gallant Pharma for more than $10.33 million.
Ten co-defendants previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their involvement in the scheme. An eleventh co-defendant, Eva Montejo Pritchard, 49, of Rockville, Maryland, who served as Aphrodite's office manager, was also convicted on May 6, 2014, and will be sentenced on July 25, 2014. On July 8, 2014, James Quinn, 73, of the United Kingdom, who is alleged to have served as the trans-shipper for the conspiracy, was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, when he attempted to enter the United States. Quinn is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria next week.
This case was investigated by FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, DEA's Group 33 Diversion Task Force, ICE-HSI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Arlington County Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsay Kelly, Maya Song and Jay Prabhu are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:13-cr-00130.