Oxford, Miss. – A Starkville physician was sentenced today to three years of probation for receiving misbranded drugs in interstate commerce and distributing them with the intent to defraud his patients. In addition to the term of probation, the defendant was ordered to forfeit $105,322.53, to pay a fine of $95,000 and to pay restitution in the amount of $377,545.20.
According to court documents, Benjamin Franklin Sanford, Jr., 69, of Starkville, Mississippi, is a physician who operated Starkville Internal Medicine. From April 2013 to June 2018, foreign versions of prescription drugs, including versions of Prolia, Boniva, and Aclasta, which had not been approved by the FDA, were shipped from overseas to Dr. Sanford’s clinic in Starkville. These drugs were administered to patients of Starkville Internal Medicine without their knowledge that the drugs were foreign versions of the subject drugs which were not FDA approved.
“U.S. consumers rely on FDA oversight to ensure that the drugs they receive are safe and effective. 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,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin C. Fielder, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Miami Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who choose to put the public’s health at such 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”.
The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General investigated the case. The case was prosecuted by AUSA Robert Mims.