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Viagra criminal fined £1.5 million

Published : Thursday October 21, 2010 | Posted in : News

An American man who sold counterfeited Viagra was fined the equivalent of £1.5 million for his crimes.

Mark Hughes, aged 47, also faces 13 years in jail for the offence. Hughes purchased more than 11,000 tablets of fake Viagra and China from Asia, selling them for $5 each. His last shipment was seized by border officials as it entered the country.

Pfizer, the drug firm that own Viagra, are putting enormous efforts into trying to stamp out the illegal Viagra trade. But with counterfeit medications becoming more and more common each year, it is unlikely that the practice will stop. Drug counterfeiting is now considered more lucrative than the sale of illegal drugs by criminals.

A study in New Zealand earlier this year found that fake Viagra samples contained a range of unsavoury ingredients, including sawdust, chalk, and perhaps worst of all, bat and bird droppings. In Britain the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority has campaigned tirelessly against fake drugs. They have shut down websites which sell them and ran adverts, warning that fake drugs may contain ingredients such as rat poison.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 1% of drugs available in the developed world are counterfeit. However, in the developing world, this rises to around 10%. This goes to show that poorer countries – which are in the greatest need of healthcare – are suffering most severely from the counterfeit drug trade.

When purchasing Viagra, Cialis or Levitra (the main impotence treatment drugs) online, it pays to be vigilant. Double-check that the website you are buying from is safe, secure and approved, and offers a comprehensive online consultation form.

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