An Ohio man was recently charged with distributing counterfeit drugs he had obtained from China and India.
Tamacio Walls was caught selling a number of erectile dysfunction pills he had acquired through unauthorized means, and as a result, could end up serving hard time. The boxes containing the shipments of illicit medications were mislabeled. Packages misrepresented to customs employees that they contained "boxes for mama," "everyday items" and "jackets and sportswear," according to the indictment, obtained by Cleveland.com.
Walls did not explain to customers that they were purchasing prescription drugs, and that they should receive medical attention before using the pills. The doses of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra that were received from China and India were warehoused by Walls, then sold off to customers as needed, without requiring them to first show a prescription. Without proper medical clearance, such drugs could cause medical harm to users.
Medical drugs and equipment are popular items for counterfeiters. In fact, the FDA, in collaboration with a number of international agencies, recently seized over 800 parcels suspected of containing illicit medical products. As part of the same operation, action was taken against over 1,000 websites suspected of distributing counterfeit drugs and medical devices. Operation Pangea VIII was the latest in an annual series of efforts aimed at putting an end to counterfeit medical products.
However, people such as Walls are still able to pass off many pills as genuine by copying trademark attributes such as size, color, shape and other characteristics. Ensuring product authenticity in the supply chain with technology - such as barcodes - is one way to make sure that real medical products are making it from manufacturing sites to retailers to consumers.