LOS ANGELES – On December 13, 2016, Sean Gerson, 48, of Laguna Hills, was arrested on charges that he used the internet to sell prescription anti-flea medication, and a powerful antibiotic used to treat pets suffering from skin, respiratory and urinary tract infections, without prescriptions.
According to an affidavit, Gerson sold Comfortis, an antibiotic, that was designed for the South African market and was not approved for distribution in the United States.
“Uncontrolled distribution of antibiotics and medication pose a threat to public safety, including the fostering of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The drugs involved in this case allegedly were distributed without the supervision of a licensed professional, which greatly increases the risk of unintended consequences beyond the animals taking the medication.”
According the affidavit, Gerson allegedly used several websites to market prescription animal products to buyers without valid prescriptions, rendering the medications misbranded. Additionally, federal law prohibits the importation and sale of veterinary medicines that have not been approved by the FDA and EPA for use in this country.
“According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Division of Investigation, this man has been under investigation by federal and state investigators for years,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Someone selling prescription meds without a prescription, whether it’s medication for human or animal consumption, poses a risk.”
Serving a search warrant at a Laugna Hills storage unit linked to Gerson, federal agents seized a variety of veterinary prescription products.
The December 13th arrest marks the second time Gerson has been linked to the illegal sale of pet medications and products. He pleaded guilty in Harris County, Texas, in 2014 to state charges of delivery of a dangerous drug, specifically a prescription drug called Clenbuterol. Following that conviction, Gerson reportedly agreed to work as a confidential informant for authorities, with the stipulation he could not sell animal prescription drug products.
If he is convicted of the two counts in the federal complaint, Gerson would face a statutory maximum sentence of four years in federal prison.