Kentwood Pharmacy Owner and Eight Additional Employees Indicted in Conspiracy to Misbrand Drugs
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 21, 2013|
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury charged Kim Mulder, the owner and CEO of Kentwood Pharmacy, with a superseding indictment charging conspiracy to misbrand drugs and conspiracy to create false prescription records. Mulder also faces a charge of structuring cash transactions in order to avoid bank reporting regulations, which was part of an earlier indictment.
The grand jury also charged an additional eight employees, who held various positions in the company, with conspiracy to misbrand drugs. These employees include vice president of sales Richard Clarke; chief Pharmacist Lawrence Harden; pharmacy floor manager Jessica Veldkamp; billing manager Elizabeth Morgan; staff pharmacist Erin Rivard; sales representative Michelle Shedd; drug packer Heather Harden; and distribution manager Gary Franks. The superseding indictment alleges that Mulder and the named employees arranged for unused drugs to be picked up from adult foster care and nursing homes and that these returned drugs were later re-dispensed by Kentwood Pharmacy. The charge asserts that the defendants misbranded the drugs when they returned the drugs to Kentwood Pharmacy by placing the returned drugs into stock bottles that bore incorrect lot numbers and expiration dates and into amber pill vials that bore no lot numbers or expiration dates. The conspiracy count charges that a number of the defendants took actions to conceal this conduct from employees and the homes by undertaking the sorting of returned drug at unlicensed off-site locations, including a strip mall office and the basement of the chief pharmacist’s home.
A second conspiracy charge alleges that Mulder, chief pharmacist Lawrence Harden, and billing manager Elizabeth Morgan also created false prescription records. All the charges in the superseding indictment are felonies punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and fines of $250,000.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff sentenced three semi-retired pharmacists to fines ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 on charges of felony misbranding of drugs related to their part-time employment at Kentwood Pharmacy.
Individual patients may have received drugs from Kentwood Pharmacy as early as 2004 and continuing through November 2010 that were misbranded or adulterated. Examples of such misbranded or adulterated drugs include mislabeled drugs, discolored drugs, or expired drugs. Persons who believe they may have received or paid for drugs supplied by Kentwood Pharmacy between 2004 and November 2010 that were misbranded or adulterated are asked to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.
Potential victims may contact the Western District of Michigan U.S. Attorney’s Office by visiting the office’s website and accessing a form related to this case at: http://www.justice.gov/usao/miw/programs/victimwitness.html. Alternatively, potential victims may call the office’s Victim Witness Unit at (616) 808-2034 and provide the information over the phone.
The investigation of this matter involves the FDA, FBI, DEA, HSS-OIG, IRS, and the Michigan State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Beckering is the prosecutor.
Charges in an indictment are only allegations and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, and the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.