Pharmacist caught selling fake Viagra and Cialis

ViagraIt seems a week cannot pass by without somebody being arrested or sentenced due to their illegal activity dealing with counterfeit medication. However, the guilty party this time is perhaps a surprising one.

According to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s office, a pharmacist operating in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., has been arrested and accused of illegally purchasing counterfeit Viagra and Cialis from China and subsequently dispensing the fake pills at his pharmacy to unsuspecting men.

Viagra and Cialis, together with Levitra, are three hugely popular medications to treat erectile dysfunction (also known as male impotence). Unfortunately for those who are duped into buying them, counterfeits such as the ones being offloaded by this particular pharmacist, have been previously known to contain either little or too much as the medication’s active ingredient which can prove lethal if somebody has any underlying health problems.

Moreover, Counterfeit drugs are often produced in disgusting, unsanitary warehouses too and some counterfeits have previously contained anything from blue paint (perhaps to mimic Pfizer Viagra’s blue colour), to brick dust, or even rat poison!

The pharmacist in question is 36-year-old Michael Markiewicz, owner of Chicago’s ‘Belmont Pharmacy’.  Despite the fact the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation suspended Markiewicz’ pharmacist license and withdrew Belmont Pharmacy’s license in November 2012, federal prosecutors have stated it is still operating as a nutrition and herb retailer.

Preceding the revoking of his pharmacist license, Markiewicz obtained three separate shipments of fake Viagra tablets from the most notorious country in the world for counterfeit drug activity; China, via the internet. One of these particular deliveries also included counterfeit Cialis. Investigators determined that he was offering the fake drugs in his pharmacy from December 2010 through to August 2012. Shipments contained a ‘gift pen’, according to the customs declaration, with the drugs concealed in unmarked clear plastic bags under the pen.

The federal indictment announced yesterday said that Markiewicz, of Norridge, Cook County, Illinois has been charged with eight counts of violating the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, four counts of trafficking in counterfeit drugs or goods using a counterfeit mark and three counts of smuggling in a 15-count indictment returned on Wednesday by a federal grand jury.

Although it is unclear at this time exactly how severe Markiewicz’ punishment will be, in the U.S. here are some punishments associated with counterfeit medicines: Trafficking counterfeit drugs carries maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $2 million (about £1.3 million) fine, trafficking counterfeit goods using a counterfeit mark can carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a $2 million fine, smuggling carries a maximum of 20 years and a $250,000 (about £163,000) fine and finally violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act carries a maximum of three years and a $250,000 fine.

We can assure you of peace and mind when obtaining medicines from Medical Specialists Pharmacy. Patient health and welfare has always been at the core of our business practice. Established in 1994 and becoming the UK’s first legal online clinic in 2001, we are fully registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and also a member of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA). Our team of Doctors are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and our Pharmacists are registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB).

However, we also understand that the internet is plagued with illegal so-called ‘pharmacies’ that offer ‘discounted’ medication. They are cheap for a reason – they are not the genuine article! To help you distinguish the illegal websites from those genuine ones belonging to fully-registered pharmacies such as Medical Specialists, here are some key points to be aware of:

. Long delivery times of up to several weeks. This is due to the drug being imported from a foreign country before it arrives to you.

. The price of the medication is a lot cheaper than what you could expect, sometimes by as much as 70%.

. The website does not offer any contact details, e.g. a telephone and fax number, company address, pharmacists, doctors, etc.

. A registered Pharmacy such as Medical Specialists Pharmacy will have the GPhC green cross logo together with its Pharmacy number. This number can be checked to see if it does actually exist.

. The company registration and VAT number should both be clearly stated on the website. Both of these are a legal requirement.

. If the website does not require patients to submit a detailed medical history or answer a doctor’s consultation, this is suspicious.

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