Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

August 15, 2016: Second Trafficker Convicted of Distributing Dangerous Counterfeit Viagra and Cialis


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Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations




U.S. Department of Justice Press Release



For Immediate Release
August 15, 2016

United States Department of Justice

Southern District of Texas 


HOUSTON – A 47-year-old Pennsylvania man has entered a guilty plea to charges related to a conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit Viagra and Cialis and for smuggling, trafficking and introducing the misbranded prescription drugs into interstate commerce, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Acting Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead of the Food and Drug Administration - Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) and Acting Special Agent in Charge Sean McElroy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).






“The FDA regulates pharmaceuticals in the legitimate medical products supply chain to ensure that U.S. consumers have access to safe and effective medications,” said Grinstead. “Those who attempt to circumvent FDA’s regulation place the public’s health at risk. We will continue to defend the consumer’s right to medications that are safe, effective and properly labeled, rather than false, potentially harmful substitutes.”


Victor Lamar Coates, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to conspiring with convicted co-conspirator Martez Gurley, 41, of Napa, California, to traffic in counterfeit and misbranded Viagra and Cialis, and introducing those drugs in interstate commerce. Both drugs are prescription medications. Coates admitted to illegally distributing at least 10,288 counterfeit and misbranded tablets, including tablets he illegally imported directly from China. FDA, Eli Lilly and Company and Pfizer Inc. conducted testing on the counterfeit tablets which revealed the tablets did not contain the ingredients listed on the labeling. Some of the Viagra tablets contained the compound 2-MBT, an ingredient not part of authentic Viagra.


U.S. District Judge David Hittner accepted the plea today and set sentencing for Nov. 8, 2016. Gurley was convicted in June 2015 for his role in the conspiracy and is scheduling for sentencing Nov. 22, 2016.


Each faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy and for introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce as well as up to three years for introducing misbranded drugs into commerce. FDA-OCI and HSI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case.


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