U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
  3. Criminal Investigations
  4. Press Releases
  5. Pharmacist Sentenced for Illegally Dispensing Promethazine Cough Syrup and Earning Millions in Profits
  1. Press Releases

Pharmacist Sentenced for Illegally Dispensing Promethazine Cough Syrup and Earning Millions in Profits

OCI badge

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Michigan

Friday, January 12, 2024

Detroit, MI - Livonia pharmacy owner Zaman Alshafey was sentenced to three years in federal prison by United States District Court Judge Jonathan J.C. Grey following his guilty plea to wire fraud and money laundering. He was also ordered to forfeit approximately $9 million dollars as the gross proceeds of his unlawful conduct, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Ronne Malham, of the Food and Drug Administration.

Alshafey used his pharmacy license and Medpro Pharmacy in Livonia to order more than $2.5 million dollars of pint-sized bottles of promethazine cough syrup from various wholesale distributors who operate outside the State of Michigan. Alshafey then sold the promethazine cough syrup to drug dealers without a valid prescription from a licensed practitioner and he failed to disclose this to the wholesalers. Alshafey paid the wholesalers via wire transfers from funds derived from the unlawful dispensing of the promethazine.
Promethazine is restricted to be dispensed by prescription only per the bottle’s label.

Promethazine cough syrup can have tranquilizing and euphoric effects when consumed at higher-than-recommended dose, especially when mixed with alcohol or other drugs such as fentanyl. Promethazine cough syrup has been referred on the illegal street market as “Green Drink” or “Purple Drink.”
“A pharmacist violates the public’s trust by unlawfully dispensing any drug, including promethazine cough syrup,” said U.S. Attorney Ison. “We will continue to prosecute licensed professionals who wantonly engage in conduct that significant harms are community.”

“Providing misbranded prescription drugs puts all consumers’ health at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Ronne Malham, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who jeopardize the public’s health.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Regina R. McCullough. Assistant United States Attorney Gjon Juncaj, of the Money Laundering & Asset Recovery Unit handled related forfeiture matters and the investigation was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration.


Back to Top