BestKenko, Part III: Partners in Crime

In today’s blog post, we’ll consider what happens when a Japanese customer orders a product from a BestKenko website. Where does it come from, and what are they really getting? As the internet pharmacy implies, are the drugs really approved by the US Food and Drug Administration? We’ll dig into domain name registrations, business records, and even the Panama Papers to find out.

The medicines that BestKenko sells have been supplied by two companies in India: SAVA Global and Vaijanti Pharmacy. Although SAVA Global claims to be a drug manufacturer, further research indicates that it contracts with low-cost third-party drug producers to provide drugs to its partner businesses, rather than actually manufacturing the drugs themselves.

So: the drugs are manufactured by unknown third-party manufacturers in India contracted by SAVA Global or other companies. From there, they make their way to the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) in the United Arab Emirates, where SAVA Global operates its global pharmaceutical trading company, Sava Intertrade FZE. Then, the drugs allocated to BestKenko are shipped, warehoused, and dispensed from a fulfillment center in Singapore (Scanpro Pacific Pte. Ltd., a portfolio company of Rajahblue Holdings, which we discussed in our last blog post) to consumers in Japan.

BestKenko claims that its Singapore distribution center (Scanpro) is certified by the Singapore government and that it supplies more than 2,000 different drugs where the dispensing operations are supervised by a staff of 12 pharmacists. Given that BestKenko’s websites sell drugs that are unapproved in both Japan and in Singapore (and most jurisdictions in the world), such as Kamagra and Zhewitra, we believe this is a blatant lie (but would welcome the opportunity to review evidence supporting the assertion).

LegitScript has long speculated that SAVA Global is more intimately connected with BestKenko than a traditional pharmaceutical supplier. A few highlights:

  • Historically, Anagha Pharma, a SAVA Global subsidiary, has been the registrant for important BestKenko domain names, including the flagship online pharmacies bestkenko.com, kusuriexpress.com, and petkusuri.com. A historical Whois record for allaboutkusuri.com shows Anagha Pharma Pvt. Ltd. as the registrant, and Mark Radford (the Rajahblue Holdings director identified in the previous blog) as the administrative contact.
  • Current and historical BestKenko domain name registrations use either a Sharjah Airport Free Zone (SAIF), the UAE address, or the name of the SAVA Global transshipment center, SAVA Intertrade FZE.

SAVA Global is a large conglomerate encompassing several subsidiaries, including SAVA Medica (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., which is located at 91 Alps Avenue #03-01, Lian Soon Amenity Center, Singapore. This is the same address used by Alps Pharmacy (alps-pharmacy.sg), a fulfillment pharmacy known to LegitScript for its role in dispensing drugs for one or more unapproved faux-Canadian mail-order pharmacy networks—in particular, Solaris/Candrug (a network known, among other things, for selling non-FDA-approved IUDs to US physicians), which lists Alps Pharmacy as a dispensing pharmacy on its order forms. Alps Pharmacy also used to be known as Anam Trading Pte. Ltd, aka Anam Pharmacy — a SAVA Global subsidiary. In short, Alps Pharmacy and SAVA Global, appear to be one and the same.

In a patent infringement lawsuit in the US, Bayer identified Anam Pharmacy as a dispensing pharmacy of counterfeit or trademark-infringing drugs sold by Canadian mail-order pharmacies, and other named defendants included Ronin Ventures, a business name that has been used by Joel Devidal for original BestKusuri domain name registrations.

The Panama Papers uncovered some interesting revelations about Vinod Ramchandra Jadhav, the CEO of SAVA Global. The documents reveal that he is a director of the British Virgin Islands business Eazycall Holdings, Inc. This company, like so many offshore companies, has a slew of other business entities as directors. We weren’t surprised to learn that at least two of them — Scanpro Pacific Pte. Ltd. and Culloden Capital Pte. Ltd. — are controlled by Rajahblue folks. Scanpro Pacific, as we discussed in our last blog post, is a portfolio company of Rajahblue. Culloden Capital Pte. Ltd. is a registered business in Singapore, and Robin Scrimgeour states in his LinkedIn profile that he is a director. The remaining corporate directorships could constitute their own blog post, but they seem to be corporate vehicles operated by the principal operators of both BestKenko and SAVA Global.

The relationship between BestKenko and SAVA Global may have recently soured — Deepak Shinde (a SAVA principal) recently sued Mark Radford, Scanpro Pacific Pte. Ltd., and others in British Virgin Islands Court. Perhaps that’s why Vaijanti Pharma became a new supplier for BestKenko starting in 2015.

The India pharmacy license and the pharmacist-in-charge license for Vaijanti Pharmacy is issued to Mrs. Amruta Kapil Desphande, nee Amruta Krishna Kenge. Although Vaijanti Pharmacy is licensed in India, the business does not appear to be a registered India corporation. LegitScript research indicates that Vaijanti Pharmacy is not a traditional retail pharmacy in the sense that it serves individual patients, but rather it operates as an India stockist, a specific type of warehouse and export clearing and forwarding agent in India that is used by pharmaceutical manufacturers to handle drug distribution. Vaijanti Pharmacy may be connected to SAVA Global — its phone number (+91 985-014-6471 or, alternatively, 985-014-6471) has also appeared on BestKenko domain name registrations by Vista Pharma, which was at one point associated with SAVA Global. However, the exact nature of the relationship, if any, between Vaijanti Pharmacy and SAVA Global is not yet clear to us.

All told: when a Japanese resident purchases drugs from BestKenko.com or another website in the network, the drugs do not appear to come from a US pharmacy or Japanese pharmacy, or — insofar as we can tell — any pharmacy at all, despite the websites’ marketing. And the drugs most certainly are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Accordingly, Japanese residents who purchase drugs from these websites are essentially purchasing medicines outside of any known safety control system.

One thing, however, is clear: it appears that drug distributors based in India not only supply drugs to BestKenko, but also have some role in website operations, given the volume of domain name registrations in which their information appears.

In our next blog post, “Hitting Them Where It Hurts,” we’ll consider how BestKenko can be stopped.