NEWwbztv-small wbz-am-small 985-small mytv38web2
LIVE TONIGHT: PMC Opening Ceremonies, 7:30 p.m. On WBZ-TV & CBSBoston.com | Program Guide

Local

Number Of Black Market Viagra Seizures Skyrockets

By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve
View Comments
A jar of counterfeit Viagra. (Photo credit  MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images)

A jar of counterfeit Viagra. (Photo credit MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Joe Shortsleeve Joe Shortsleeve
Joe Shortsleeve is chief correspondent for WBZ-TV News weekdays a...
Read More

CBS Boston (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSBoston.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSBoston.com/Health

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

BOSTON (CBS) – Sexual therapy drugs like Viagra and its competitors are a billion dollar industry.

Earlier this year, we told you how that incredible demand has given birth to a counterfeit industry.

But now that problem is growing and we’re learning more about just how dangerous these drugs can be.

International investigators found a dirty, fungus-covered warehouse in Chile that was a factory for black-market Viagra.

It’s just one of a series of raids all over the world that uncovered bogus pill-making operations.

In Ecuador, boric acid was one of the main ingredients.

In Montreal, commercial grade paint was used to give the pills their signature blue color.

In Columbia, pills were made using sheet rock and rat poison.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports

It’s not hard to imagine these ingredients would be hazardous to your health.

“If you are taking a pill that has rat poison, lead, boric acid, you could become potentially very ill from that and possibly even have a fatal complication,” said urologist Dr. Jed Kaminetsky.

U.S. Customs agents say the number of shipments they are seizing in the mail is skyrocketing.

In 2010, 330 shipments of the fake drugs were confiscated.

This year, the number stands at 1,200.

“A lot of these drugs are ordered over the Internet from what appear to be legitimate pharmacies and are shipped directly to the patients by the counterfeiters,” explained Customs agent Therese Randazzo.

It’s tough for even the experts to tell the difference.

Security officials from Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, showed two bottles of Viagra pills.

They looked very similar, but the fake pills were a darker blue and were slightly larger than the authentic drugs.

“We can’t tell quite often until we get them into our lab and we test it chemically,” explained Patrick Ford of Pfizer Global Security.

When investigators from Pfizer ordered their pills from 26 online pharmacies, 81-percent turned out to be counterfeit.

There are some legitimate online pharmacies.

Experts say be sure to look for a website that has a blue seal of approval from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy list of approved pharmacies.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus