LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The owners of a Pacoima candy store faced a lawsuit on charges of selling counterfeit or mislabeled pharmaceuticals.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Monday announced a lawsuit filed against Narcisco Gamez and his daughter, Johana – the owners of Dulceria El Venado on Glenoaks Boulevard.
The father and daughter were accused of selling mislabeled or counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs, ranging from antibiotics to narcotics, to undercover detectives.
Neither Narcisco and Johana are licensed to sell pharmaceuticals nor is their business a pharmacy, according to City Attorney Mike Feuer. The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.
“It is so important as we highlight what we allege happened in this case for individuals who need medication to go to a licensed pharmacist,” Feuer said. “We are not only trying to hold accountable the individuals we allege engaged in what we have set forth today, but we are trying to send a very strong message out to consumers of medications – please turn to a licensed pharmacist.”
It was not known whether any customers were harmed by taking the alleged counterfeit drugs, Feuer said.
The complaint alleged that since at least 2014, the Gamezs were selling counterfeit or mislabeled pharmaceutical drugs that are dangerous and could be making people very sick.
“They’re going to think they’re going to get better from this; they’re going to feel better. That’s the opposite,” said Brian Wong, a pharmacist with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
He said deputies found something labeled as the injectable anti-inflammatory drug, Diprospan, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. But this substance was actually cut with calcium phosphate. Instead of healing muscles, it could actually cause tissue death, according to Wong.
“They’re made with fillers such as concrete, gypsum board, drywall. They’re made in filthy, putrid conditions,” Wong explained. “And then on top of that, there’s things like toxins and heavy metals.”
The lawsuit calls for terminating of the store’s lease at the business and seeks an injunction barring the defendants from continuing to illegally sell or manufacture any pharmaceutical products.
Each violation comes with a $2500 fine, per violation per day. The defendants have more than 2,000 alleged violations.