Mississippi doctor sentenced for giving patients unapproved foreign drugs

Published 1:40 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A Mississippi doctor has been sentenced in federal court to 3 years probation for defrauding his patients for giving patients foreign versions of the drugs that are not approved for use in the United States.

Benjamin Franklin Sanford Jr., 69, of Starkville, operated Starkville Internal Medicine. He was also ordered to forfeit $105,322.53, to pay a $95,000 fine and to pay restitution in the amount of $377,545.20.

According to court documents, from April 2013 to June 2018, foreign versions of prescription drugs, which had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, were shipped from overseas to Sanford’s clinic in Starkville. Those drugs were administered to patients of Starkville Internal Medicine without their knowledge that the drugs were foreign versions of the drugs, which were not approved for use in this country. The foreign drugs included versions of Prolia, Boniva, and Aclasta.

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“U.S. consumers rely on FDA oversight to ensure that the drugs they receive are safe and effective,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin C. Fielder, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Miami Field Office. “Health care providers who obtain foreign unapproved medicines and then dispense and administer those drugs to their patients put the health of those patients at significant risk.”

“For medical care, patients rely on safe and approved drugs from their doctors”, said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General in Atlanta. “This sentence and financial penalties will deter other medical providers from seeking non-FDA approved imported medications”.