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Utah pharmacy CEO sentenced to probation for importing drug from China

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DRAPER, Utah (ABC4) – A Draper-based pharmacy CEO will serve probation and pay a fine after he pleaded guilty to illegally purchasing a drug believed to be a treatment for COVID-19.

In January, Daniel Richards was charged with a federal misdemeanor of receipt of misbranded drugs in interstate commerce. Richards later pleaded guilty to the charge.

Court records show Richards has been given three years of probation and a $10,000 fine. As part of his plea agreement, Richards admitted to importing and receiving over 50 kilograms of misbranded and mislabeled chloroquine, as well as 500 kilograms of hydroxychloroquine.

Richards must also:

  • Provide the U.S. Probation Office access to all business and personal financial information.
  • Cooperate with the State of Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, fulfilling any and all responsibilities during the “active probation” period of licensure, and work toward full licensure.
  • Pay for the costs associated with the destruction of drugs seized by the FDA.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Clinical Trials site, a 2020 study found Boswellia Serrata gum is a nutritional agent that has pharmacological actions that could support the medical intervention for COVID-19. A study by Intermountain Healthcare and the University of Utah Health found hydroxychloroquine provides no benefit to COVID-19 patients when compared with azithromycin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

In March 2020, the state of Utah purchased 20,000 units – a cost of $800,000 – of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment option for COVID-19 from the Utah compounding pharmacy, Meds in Motion, the company for which Richards serves as CEO and founder, according to its website.

In late April 2020, the Governor’s Office confirmed the state had be refunded for their purchase of the malaria drug once touted by former President Donald Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

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