Pharmaceutical Company President Guilty In Texas Counterfeit “Lean” Conspiracy
If you're familiar with Houston hip hop culture then you know "Lean" aka Purple Drank, aka Sizzurp, aka Dirty Sprite among other names became relatively popular in the late 90’s when rappers and other artists were referencing the drink in their music.
Lean is an illicit substance made with Codeine, containing cough syrup, soda, hard candy, occasionally alcohol and the antihistamine, Promethazine. Most users favored the "Actavis Cough Syrup Brand" and while it was wildly popular for a time, addiction rates and deaths continued to rise so the company Actavis Holdco US discontinued production of Actavis cough syrup in 2014 due to its widespread abuse by recreational drug users.
But there's still a "black market" demand for it and a Florida pharmaceutical company president was helping traffickers fulfill that need according to federal officials.
57 Year Old Alan P. Runsdorf of Boca Raton, Florida was the owner and president of Woodfield Pharmaceutical LLC.
According to a press release from The Justice Department, from April 2014 until August 2021, Runsdorf conspired with drug traffickers in Houston, Texas, to distribute misbranded and counterfeit cough syrup. According to information presented in court, Byron A. Marshall, 43, of Houston, utilized Woodfield Pharmaceutical’s manufacturing facility and employees in Houston to produce more than 500,000 pints of counterfeit cough syrup.
Marshall’s drug trafficking organization sold the counterfeit drugs across the country.
Prices generally ranged from $100 to more than $1,000 per one-pint bottle. Depending on the market and brand of cough syrup, prices went as high as $3,800 to $4,000 per pint. Pints were sold in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, California, Florida, Arkansas, and Ohio.
During the conspiracy, Marshall communicated directly with Runsdorf regarding production of the counterfeit cough syrup.
At Runsdorf’s request, Marshall paid Woodfield Pharmaceutical in cash only, and Woodfield employees mailed the cash directly to Runsdorf in Boca Raton. U.S. Attorney Brit Featherson made the following statement about Runsdorf:
In his greed, Adam Runsdorf, owner and president of Woodfield Pharmaceutical, used his position and connections to enable drug traffickers in Houston to produce thousands of gallons of counterfeit Actavis, labeled to be nearly identical to the discontinued product. The conspirators in this case sought to capitalize on the scarcity of Actavis and other prescription cough syrups by marketing counterfeit versions to street-level abusers.”
Runsdorf, Marshall and Six codefendants, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Runsdorf pleaded guilty to conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit drugs, and money laundering conspiracy on Monday (Aug 22) and now faces up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing. Runsdorf’s company pleaded guilty to the same charges on Monday as well.