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Department of Justice: Covetrus Pleads Guilty to Criminal Misbranding of Veterinary Prescription Drugs

By Pet Age Staff//February 13, 2024//

Department of Justice: Covetrus Pleads Guilty to Criminal Misbranding of Veterinary Prescription Drugs

By: Pet Age Staff//February 13, 2024//

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According to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliance and enforcement report, Covetrus North America LLC, a company based in Dublin, Ohio, which sells veterinary products to customers across the United States, has pled guilty to causing the introduction and delivery of misbranded veterinary prescription drugs into interstate commerce. As part of the agreement, Covetrus will pay over $23 million in criminal fines and forfeitures.

“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia takes the distribution of misbranded prescription drugs seriously,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said. “Covetrus shipped over $20 million in prescription drugs to unauthorized end-users in violation of federal laws that are designed to ensure prescription drugs are kept within a controlled chain of distribution and to prevent diversion and inappropriate use.  Today’s result demonstrates my Office’s commitment to holding those companies and corporations accountable when they seek to profit by breaking the law.”

“The FDA recognizes the importance of controlling the prescription drug supply for animals. The careless or uncontrolled distribution of prescription animal drugs poses a danger not only to the medicated animals but to the U.S. public health by increasing the risk that humans will become resistant to antibiotics that we unknowingly consume through our food supply.” said Special Agent in Charge George Scavdis, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations – Metro Washington Field Office.  “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who distribute prescription animal drugs unlawfully.”

According to court documents, from March 2019 to December 2021, Covetrus shipped over $20 million in prescription drugs from their non-pharmacy locations throughout the United States to end-users that were not authorized to receive prescription drugs. Shipments from non-pharmacy locations to non-authorized end-users or locations are deemed “misbranded.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office report, Covetrus will forfeit $21,534,091, pay $1,000,000 to the Virginia Department of Health Professions, as well as a fine of $1,000,000. In addition, Covetrus is obligated to keep in place appropriate compliance measures to prevent future violations.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 8 at 10:30 a.m.at the United States Federal Courthouse in Abingdon.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations and the Virginia State Police investigated the case, with the assistance of the Virginia Department of Health Professions.