KINGSPORT, TN – Diana Harshbarger is one of two Republican pharmacists running for higher office this November and now she’s under fire for lying about her and her husband’s interest in a Chinese company that was selling bogus medicine. Her husband eventually was found guilty of mislabeling Chinese drugs as American made products.
As Diana Harshbarger runs for Congress, her campaign ads are in opposition to the Chinese control of the American prescription drug trade.
According to WJHL, the Kingsport pharmacists’ new campaign ad calls for bringing medical manufacturing back to the U.S. But Chinese medical manufacturing hit close to home for Harshbarger in 2013 when her husband and fellow pharmacist Robert pleaded guilty in federal court to misbranding drugs and healthcare fraud.
The Justice Department said Harshbarger was caught substituting a cheaper drug imported from China for the iron sucrose that the Federal Drug Administration has approved for kidney dialysis patients, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today. The misbranded drug was administered to kidney dialysis patients in Kansas.
Harshbarger admitted that health care benefit programs paid more than $848,000 for the misbranded iron sucrose he distributed from 2004 to 2009. Harshbarger misrepresented the iron sucrose drug as Venofer, which is the only iron sucrose drug approved by the FDA for both pre-dialysis and post-dialysis patients.
Harshbarger purchased iron sucrose from Chinese companies including Qingdao Shenbang Chemical Company in Qingdao, China, and Shanghai Rory Fine Chemicals Co., Ltd., in Shanghai, China. The iron sucrose from China was cheaper than purchasing Venofer.
Diana Harshbarger claims she had no involvement in that company, but documents released this week in Tennessee show she was the secretary of the corporation.
Why is a congressional race in Tennessee relevant to New Jersey?
In New Jersey, another pharmacist, one who worked for the Obama era FDA is also running for office, Rikin Mehta. Mehta is running for U.S. Senate in New Jersey and is currently in an election quagmire caused by the state’s full mail-in ballot election.
Mehta has also been accused of hiding his past connections to companies like Pfizer, his support for opioid-based medications for the public and his ties to both the administration of former President Barack Obama and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, both former employers of Mehta.
Today, Mehta congratulated his fellow pharmacist Harshbarger, “Congrats to my fellow Republican pharmacist Diana Harshbarger for her victory in Tennessee-01, looking forward to seeing you on the hill!”
Harshbarger’s husband was eventually sentenced to four years in prison and the couple had to forfeit assets totaling $1.2 million for his role in selling fake Chinese made medications to sick Americans.