The U.S. Department of Justice has reopened a case against a Madison pharmacist who previously faced charges for illegally importing and selling counterfeit medications in 2010 before the case was dismissed, according to a DOJ statement.
Marla Ahlgrimm, former owner of Women’s Health America, was arraigned Friday before a federal magistrate in Central Islip, New York, along with her suspected accomplice, Balbir Bhogal .
The two were charged with allegedly arranging for the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit prescription drugs, including fake Viagra.
Ahlgrimm, 59, is from Madison. Bhogal, 67, of Las Vegas, has dual citizenship with the United States and India.
The pair were first investigated in 2010 after two confidential sources came forward to report their alleged activities. Following the tip, law enforcement officials intercepted shipments and found the pills contained either a lower dosage of the intended medication or none at all.
The pills were allegedly manufactured in India and distributed in the United States through an online pharmacy based in Costa Rica, according to the statement.
Prosecutors allege that Ahlgrimm and Bhogal arranged for the manufacture and importation of millions of tablets of controlled substances although they did not have an importers’ license from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Neither the incoming packages nor the tablets themselves were labeled or identified as controlled substances or prescription drugs,” prosecutors alleged.
The statement also said the online pharmacy had call centers and websites based outside the United States but filled the orders from inside the country “using individuals who were not licensed pharmacists to bottle, label and drop-ship the drugs.”
The initial charges were dropped for reasons that were not completely clear in 2010, but prosecutors left the option to refile them.
The indictment lists 10 charges, including importing and distributing controlled substances and misbranded drugs, trafficking in counterfeit drugs, mail and wire fraud, smuggling and money laundering.
The case was jointly investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Homeland Security Investigation’s New York Field Office.
— State Journal reporter Dee J. Hall contributed to this report.