U.S. sentences man in latest fake cancer drug case

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By Toni Clarke, Reuters

A Montana man charged with selling unapproved cancer drugs was sentenced to five years probation and six months of home confinement, U.S. law enforcement authorities said on Friday. He was also forced to forfeit some $6 million in assets.

The case is the latest in roughly a dozen brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and Food and Drug Administration against distributors of unapproved pharmaceuticals.

Under the latest sentencing, in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Montana, Paul Daniel Bottomley, 48, agreed to forfeit $1.1 million in cash, a 2011 Aston Martin which was sold for $110,000 at auction, and 10 parcels of real estate. The Justice Department said it valued the total forfeiture at around $6 million.

John Roth, director of the FDA's office of criminal investigations, said Bottomley managed to avoid jail time because he fully cooperated with the investigation.

The sentencing comes a day after a British man, Richard Taylor, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and an $800,000 fine for selling a Turkish version of Roche Holding AG's multibillion-dollar cancer drug Avastin to U.S. physicians.

The discovery in late 2011 of fake Avastin in U.S. oncology practices sparked an international investigation. The drugs were sold in the United States by, among others, Bottomley's company, Montana Healthcare Solutions.

In October 2010, Bottomley sold his company to Rockley Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Canada Drugs Ltd, an Internet-based pharmacy based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for $5 million. Bottomley remained an adviser to Canada Drugs.