Expired Medications Sold Illegally at Queens Flea Market

By Katy Tur
|  Thursday, Dec 9, 2010  |  Updated 11:32 PM EDT
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The FDA says it’s illegal, but it’s being sold to anyone right out in the open, and the people doing it don't seem to care that selling illegal and expired medications put lives at risk.

NBCNewYork.com went undercover at the aqueduct flea market in Ozone Park, Queens, where these kind of medications are sold for a steal.

On a bitingly cold Saturday afternoon, the flea market at the Aqueduct Race Track is packed with people buying everything from makeup, old candy, and clothing.

But taking a closer look at the goods being hawked you’ll find a more nefarious lineup of goods -- expired, over-the-counter medications like Robitussin, Claritin, and even children's medications, like Dimetapp.

The expiration dates range anywhere from a few months past the guaranteed safety date to years expired.

Pediatrician Greg Yapalater says the main concern with meds like these is not so much that they are expired, but rather the uncertainty of where they come from – whether they’ve been stored properly or if they’ve been tampered with.

“Buying junk for a dollar is still junk. Buying poison for a dollar is still poison. Why go that route? There are other ways. Go with the generics in the pharmacy. They're always going to be cheaper”, says Yapalater.

News 4 confronted the vendors and asked why they were selling illegal goods and where they got the medications. In response the reporter and cameraman were called named and screamed at to leave. No one could tell us the origin of the products.

The Flea Market’s managers told News4 the vendor in charge of stand selling the illegal drugs is a man named Pat Flynn.

Flynn denied he was in charge and would not answer questions.

By the time News 4 alerted the Market’s authorities the goods were quickly swept into a box and taken away.

Aqueduct Flea Market says they will revoke Pat Flynn’s permit. The market maintains that it checks twice a day for illegal products being sold. Still customers say they see the stuff being sold every market day – out in the open for anyone to see. State officials assure us that the proper authorities will be by the flea to stop vendors like Flynn from continuing to sell expired meds.

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