$3.6 million of counterfeit drugs seized in the U.S.
Earlier this year Medical Specialists Pharmacy gave you an insight into just some of the work that the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have been undertaking in their bid to stamp-out the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit drugs, or at least keep it to an absolute minimum if possible. Pfizer are of course most notorious for the massively popular erectile dysfunction medication Viagra (sildenafil), and indeed erectile dysfunction (ED) treatments are the most counterfeited medicines in the world. Counterfeiters are becoming more adept at developing more realistic appearing medicines. However, for the patients who are unfortunately getting duped, the low-price comes with a life-threatening risk as the drugs are often processed in unsanitary conditions and usually contain toxic ingredients that can prove deadly. There is some positive news though which shows that these illegal counterfeiters will eventually receive their comeuppance – Partnering with governments and law enforcement agencies around the globe, Pfizer’s Global Security has successfully managed to halt an incredible 160 million counterfeit tablets from reaching unsuspecting patients around the world in the last decade. This brings us to the fantastic news this week that US enforcement agents joined forces with Pfizer, seized a haul of counterfeit medicines from a warehouse in South Carolina, U.S., in March. The fake drugs were estimated to be worth a staggering $3.6 million (£2.3 million). Unsurprisingly, it was fake ED drugs that were uncovered during the raid and agents discovered counterfeited versions of Viagra in addition to Eli Lilly’s Cialis (tadalafil) – another popular male impotence medication that has rivalled Viagra in recent years. The agents also found Merck & Co's Proscar (finasteride), a drug that eases the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. It is believed the counterfeit drugs had been imported from India, arriving at reshipping warehouse located in Columbia, whilst other counterfeits came from a country rife in such illegal activities – China. The huge operation that led to the South Carolina raid involved agents with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and South Carolina's Secretary of State Office, using their expertise with work with Pfizer and Blazer Investigations staff. In total, $4 million-worth (£2.6 million) of counterfeit goods was seized, and not only medicines. ICE has confirmed that fake versions of products from Coach, Prada, Ray Ban, Golf Pride and TaylorMade, were also found. South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond said: “Counterfeit merchandise is a lose-lose situation, harming those retailers who play by the rules and cheating consumers out of the quality products they need or deserve. Fake medicine takes this harm to another level because it can literally kill you.”