Florida man gets jail term for medicines counterfeiting

Viagra tabletsA Florida man has been sentenced to 21 months in jail for conspiracy to smuggle misbranded and counterfeit drugs into the US.

72-year-old Robert Lohr of Bradenton - who operated a business known as the 'Canadian American Drug Club' or 'American Drug Club of Bradenton' - has also been ordered to forfeit proceeds of $926,466. He admitted the charges in January.

According to court documents, between July 2009 and September 2015, Lohr sold and distributed illegally smuggled prescription drugs, including Pfizer's Viagra (sildenafil), Eli Lilly's Cialis (tadalafil) - both of which are erectile dysfunction drugs - as well as Pfizer's cholesterol-lowerer Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Eisai's gastrointestinal Aciphex (rabeprazole).

The fake Viagra and Cialis were sourced from China while Aciphex and Lipitorprescriptions were filled "by foreign pharmacies with foreign drugs," according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

He also peddled other drug products that were falsely represented as 'herbal,' but in fact illegally contained active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The extent of the illicit activities was uncovered after enforcement agencies made undercover purchases of misbranded, unapproved, and counterfeit prescription drugs.

Lohr generated more than $1m in sales of these products, according to ICE.  At no time was he ever licensed as a pharmacist, a drug importer or a drug wholesaler while none of his businesses was a licensed pharmacy, drug importer or wholesaler.

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