Canadian Online Pharmacy Faces $34 Million in Fines

An online pharmacy called Canada Drugs faces $34 million in fines under a plea deal made with U.S. prosecutors.

They say the international company illegally imported unapproved and misbranded drugs from all over the world, the Associated Press reported.

Canada Drugs has made at least $78 million through illegal drug imports, including fake versions of the cancer drugs Avastin and Altuzan that had no active ingredients, according to prosecutors.

They spent more than two years trying to get the company to appear in U.S. court to face felony charges, finally securing a plea deal late last year, the AP reported.

On Friday, a judge will decide whether to approve the prosecutors' recommended sentences of $29 million forfeited, $5 million in fines and five years' probation for the company, and six months' house arrest, five years' probation and a $250,000 fine for company founder Kristian Thorkelson.

Under the deal, Canada Drugs would permanently halt sales of all unapproved, misbranded and counterfeit drugs and would surrender all the domain names of the numerous websites it used to sell drugs, the AP reported.

The final decision on the sentences is up to U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen. An advocacy group says the plea deal terms are too lenient and wants the judge to impose more severe penalties to deter similar crimes in the future.

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