Four years in prison for counterfeiter

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Counterfeit medicines, Pfizer

A man has been sentenced in the US to four years imprisonment for trafficking 38,000 counterfeit Viagra (sildenafil citrate) tablets with a wholesale value of $400,000.

Ivad Dogmosh entered into a plea bargain with US prosecutors under which he was charged with negotiating and facilitating the sale of 2,000 tablets and the import and possession of 36,000 pills.

The 36,000 pills were imported from Egypt by Dogmosh and were then seized by authorities from a storage facility in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

Dogmosh’s sale of 2,000 pills, whose counterfeit nature he was aware of, occurred in October 2006. The seizure of 36,000 tablets was a separate incident.

In shape, colour, size and markings the pills looked identical to legitimate Viagra from Pfizer but testing of the tablets revealed they contained almost none of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API).

The antibiotic metronidazole was detected in the pills, which has side effects including seizures, fever and bloody diarrhea. In addition metronidazole interacts with alcohol, which can result in nausea, flushing or headaches.

Upon completion of his sentence the Jordanian national will be deported.

Across the pond…

The sentence received by Dogmosh is in stark contrast with one issued in the UK earlier this month, when a man received a suspended prison sentence for dealing in £1.8m of counterfeit medicines.

Viraj Shah was sentenced to 51 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, and to 40 hours of community service after four pallets of counterfeit medicines were discovered at Heathrow Airport.

Inconsistencies in the colourings of the packaging alerted the authorities to the possible counterfeit nature of the cargo, resulting in the products being sent for testing.

This haul contained counterfeit Nexium (esomeprazole), Diovan (valsartan), Propecia (finasteride), Actonel (risedronate), Lipitor (atorvastatin), Ezetrol (ezetimibe), Hyzaar (losartan potassium and hydrochlorothiazide) and Reductil (sibutramine).

Quantities of the products were not revealed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) but were said to total 385kg in weight.

The MHRA was already aware of Shah’s activities having searched his house in June 2006, finding ten counterfeit blister packs containing counterfeit Reductil.

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