CHICAGO (CBS) – They are being bought up off the internet in big numbers, and they are tainted with chemicals that could be dangerous, even deadly for many people. CBS 2’s Dave Savini takes a look at how they are flooding our area.
Hundred of thousands of supplements with catchy names like Man Up, Weekend Prince and Maxman are flooding the market according to Brian Bell from U.S Customs and Border Protection.
Bell said the products claim to be all natural and safe but they are not. He showed CBS 2 nearly 80 tainted herbal products that are being shipped to the United States from China and India.
The products have been laced with the chemical found in prescription Viagra said David Murphy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Regional Director. Murphy confirms that nowhere on the label does it list Sildenfil as an ingredient. He wants to warn potential customers and reveals, “They are hiding it there.”
US Customs and Border Protection officers have been seizing the supplements in big numbers, in just the past four months nearly 200,000 pills containing the active ingredient in Viagra — called Sildenfil — have been seized in United State’s mail deliveries coming from overseas.
The supplements can be deadly for people with pre-existing conditions; they can suffer heart attacks, strokes and dangerous drug interactions. Murphy said, “You’re putting people at risk!”
Federal officers have also been seizing fake prescription pills too according to Bell, “I mean we are seeing everything, counterfeit Levitra, counterfeit Viagra and counterfeit Cialis.”
The fake prescription drugs are being shipped with phony packaging labels and the pills have phony drug company stamps to make them look legitimate. The counterfeit pills are becoming a hot commodity because they are cheaper than the real thing.
“That’s a big red flag when you see it’s half the price or reduced price”, said Scott MacIntire, Director of the FDA’s Chicago District. MacIntire said the U.S. Food and Drug administration is taking this investigation very seriously and he confirms the tainted herbal supplements contain undeclared ingredients that could lead to deadly consequences. In some case the pills could have half the amount of a prescription drugs or ten times the amount.
In the last 3 years, the FDA has uncovered 300 chemically-tainted products, including diet and body-building pills.
When buying supplements or medications online make sure it’s a legitimate pharmacy — look for a national board of pharmacy license number because the legitimate ones will ask for a prescription.