Co-founder of illegal drug company sentenced to 3 years

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Gallant Pharma smuggled and sold more than $12 million in non-FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The co-founder of Gallant Pharma International Inc., an unlicensed wholesale drug distributor headquartered in Arlington was sentenced today to three years in prison, two years of supervised release, and $3.4 million in forfeiture and restitution to victims.

The sentencing followed an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Washington along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Arlington County Police.

Talib Khan, 43, of Montreal, Quebec, and Barbados, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and sale of misbranded drugs. Between August 2009 and August 2013, Gallant Pharma smuggled and sold more than $12.4 million in non-FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs and injectable cosmetic drugs and devices, generating profits of $3.4 million.

Many of these drugs were subject to strict temperature controls to protect drug potency. Gallant Pharma shipped and received such drugs with ice packs, not dry ice used by legitimate distributors, and on at least one occasion, a shipment containing such drugs took more than two weeks to arrive in Virginia from overseas during a July 2012 heat wave.

Many drugs sold by Gallant Pharma also were required to carry a FDA "black box" warning, which indicates that a drug carries a significant risk of serious or life-threatening adverse effects. The versions sold by Gallant Pharma did not meet this or other FDA labeling requirements.

Also sentenced was Gallant Pharma sales representative Harvey Whitehead, 68, of Cadillac, Mich. Whitehead, was sentenced to two years of probation, to include six months of home confinement, following his Oct. 3, 2013 guilty pleas to unlicensed wholesale prescription drug distribution and sale of misbranded drugs. Whitehead also agreed to pay $36,795.85 in restitution to victims.

Nine additional co-defendants, including co-founder Syed "Farhan" Huda, 38, of Arlington, previously pleaded guilty and eight are awaiting sentencing.

A jury trial is scheduled for March 31, for alleged co-conspirators Anoushirvan Sarraf, 48, and Eva Montejo Pritchard, 48, both of Rockville. Sarraf, the owner of Aphrodite Skin Care Clinic in McLean, and Pritchard, the office manager, are alleged to have knowingly received illegal shipments intended for Gallant Pharma, in exchange for a discounted price on non-FDA-approved drugs and devices that they used on Aphrodite patients without the patients' knowledge or consent.

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