Pharmacist accused in Internet, fake-pill scheme

September 19, 2014

A Wisconsin pharmacist has been arraigned on charges she and a partner tried to smuggle more than four million misbranded and counterfeit pills into the United States.

A Wisconsin pharmacist has been arraigned on charges she and a partner tried to smuggle more than four million misbranded and counterfeit pills into the United States.

Marla Ahlgrimm, 59, of Madison, Wisconsin was charged in federal court in New York with allegedly importing and distributing controlled substances and misbranded drugs, trafficking in counterfeit drugs, mail and wire fraud, smuggling, and money laundering. Balbir Bhogal, 67, a Nevada pharmacologist, an alleged co-conspirator, was charged with similar alleged offenses. Prosecutors said the offenses occurred June 2007 through May 2010.

Pharmacist allegedly stole nearly 200,000 pills

Ahlgrimm and Bhogal allegedly arranged for the manufacture in India of millions of tablets of controlled substances, including alprazolam and phentermine, and prescription drugs, including carisoprodol and counterfeit Viagra.

 

According to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement report, neither Ahlgrimm or Bhogal has an importer's license from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the incoming packages were not labeled or identified as controlled substances or prescription drugs.

ICE officials said the pair planned to use the counterfeit drugs to supply an  Internet pharmacy based in Costa Rica, which supplied customers in the United States. The pharmacy allegedly used domestic call centers to bottle, label, and ship the drugs.

Ahlgrimm is co-founder of Madison Pharmacy Associates, the first pharmacy in the United States devoted to women’s health, and is the former owner of Women’s Health America.