Major counterfeit drugs haul in US

Counterfeit medicinesUS enforcement agents working with Pfizer seized $3.6m-worth of counterfeit medicines in a raid on a South Carolina warehouse last month.

The operation uncovered counterfeit versions of Pfizer's erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil), Eli Lilly's ED product Cialis (tadalafil) and Merck & Co's Proscar (finasteride), which is used to treat symptoms of enlarged prostate.

All told - agents with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and South Carolina's Secretary of State Office - working alongside Pfizer and Blazer Investigations staff - uncovered $4m of counterfeit goods.

Along with pharmaceuticals knock-offs of brands such as Coach, Prada, Ray Ban, Golf Pride and TaylorMade were also seized, according to ICE. The counterfeit pharmaceuticals had been shipped from India to a reshipping warehouse in Columbia, it said, while the other fakes seem to have originated from China.

"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," said SC Secretary of State Mark Hammond. "Fake medicine takes this harm to another level because it can literally kill you."

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