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Terry Goddard Announces Prison Term for Former Surgeon Who Ran Illegal Pharmacy

(Phoenix, Ariz. – February 25, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Lawrence Carl Runke, 66, of Clarksdale, has been sentenced to four years in prison, followed by five years probation, for operating an illegal pharmacy.  The pharmacy, Global Medicines LLC in Cottonwood, generated more than $1.5 million in revenue since 2005 and was purchasing unapproved drugs from suppliers in India and reselling the drugs to consumers across the country. 

Runke, a former surgeon, was indicted last April. On Jan. 14, a Yavapai County jury found him guilty of 12 criminal counts that included conspiracy, money laundering, sale of prescription drugs, possession of prescription drugs for sale and possession of dangerous drugs for sale. 

In 2005, the Arizona Medical Board investigated a complaint that Runke, whose medical license had been suspended six years earlier, was operating an illegal pharmacy. As a result of its investigation, Runke, who was not a licensed pharmacist, surrendered his license to practice medicine. 

While the Arizona Medical Board’s investigation was ongoing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Phoenix Police Department began investigating Global Medicines after being notified of the seizure of multiple packages of illegal drugs.  The investigation revealed that Runke was purchasing unapproved drugs from Indian suppliers and marketing the drugs to customers across the United States.  The drugs provided by Runke were not FDA approved and many posed serious health risks to patients.   

In April 2007, a search warrant was executed at the Cottonwood pharmacy. The search warrant revealed hundreds of different types of unapproved prescription and dangerous drugs. 

Assistant Attorney General Matt Conti prosecuted this case in Yavapai County Superior Court. 

For more information, contact Molly E. Edwards at 602-542-8019.