Pharmacist gets 4 years for misbranding drugs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A Tennessee pharmacist has been sentenced to four years in prison for distributing a misbranded Chinese-made drug that was given to kidney dialysis patients in Kansas.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Topeka said Monday that 53-year-old Robert Harshbarger Jr., of Kingsport, Tenn., was also ordered to pay nearly $850,000 in restitution and a $25,000 fine and to forfeit $425,000.

Harshbarger pleaded guilty in May to one count each of fraud and distributing a misbranded drug.

He admitted that from 2004 to 2009, he substituted a cheaper Chinese import for an iron sucrose drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Prosecutors say there were no reports of harm, but patients at Kansas Dialysis Services were put at risk because the FDA could not assure the drugs' effectiveness and safety.


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