Dateline | May 17, 2013
>>> here's a craigslist posting in las vegas offering something called the vegas red pleasure pill . being sold as an all natural alternative to erectile dysfunction drugs like viagra and cialis . the medications are available by prescription only. but this website brags the red pleasure pill not only works but has no harmful side effects , claiming it's made from exotic herbs.
>> you just could tell something was toxic about them.
>> bob johnson saw the ad and thought he would give the pleasure pill a try.
>> first one i took, i had a lot of headaches, nausea.
>> this is just from one pill?
>> what's in these red pleasure pills and are they safe? we wanted to find out so we replied to the listing and our producer set up a meeting with the seller in this cigar bar which we rented and rigged with hidden cameras . here comes the man who posted that ad. his name is victor . he says he's been a very busy guy. business is booming.
>> i have 20 deliveries in the afternoon.
>> as i listened from the back room, our producer asks victor how he, too, can become a distributor.
>> if i buy a thousand pills from you, how much am i paying you?
>> we pay like $5 apiece.
>> and i sell those pills for how much?
>> if you're in new york, you can sell them up to $15.
>> exactly what is in these magic pills? victor tells us the recipe is a secret.
>> you cannot tell people exactly what's in the pill because they're going to produce it.
>> like if you give the ingredients, they'll rip it off.
>> yeah. if you give the recipe, what's the point when i can make my own recipe?
>> he guarantees the pleasure pill works.
>> if you go up to 72 hours , three days. i use the product. i can sell this product. i don't need to work. this is what i do.
>> you make enough money?
>> yeah. just do the math. you see, i sell 50 of these a day.
>> is that how many you sell, 50 a day?
>> i sold 50 a day.
>> what kind people buy this stuff?
>> mostly tourists.
>> anybody. i had doctors, i had lawyers, i have people in construction. i have anybody.
>> but the question is, are they safe?
>> there's nothing in here that's dangerous?
>> no, nothing is dangerous.
>> it's all natural ?
>> all natural .
>> all natural , we'll see about that.
>> we bought a few pills from victor , packed them up and shipped them to chrome adex, a lab that analyzes supplements and other pills. we set up another meeting with victor and i come along as a potential business partner .
>> victor , nice to meet you.
>> victor tries to convince me how good the pleasure pill business is, especially online.
>> why craigslist?
>> craigslist is very lucrative. you don't know how many people i got from craigslist.
>> at least 800 a month.
>> 800 customers just from craigslist.
>> what do you think you can grow this into? what is your goal in terms of monthly --
>> i never been in the businesslike this.
>> right now, 40 deliveries a day.
>> 40 deliveries a day.
>> on the best day. lower day i do 25, 27.
>> and what makes this work? what is the active ingredient ?
>> there's no chemical in here?
>> no chemicals, whatsoever.
>> remember, we had the pleasure pills tested. we have some bad news for victor .
>> victor , let me tell you something. we did do some independent testing on the product and we got the results back. see this right there?
>> it turns out what victor is selling is anything but natural . it's really a potentially dangerous knock-off of vie ragra and cialis .
>> the same active ingredients or knock-offs of those active ingredients that are in viagra and cialis are in these pills you're selling as all- natural .
>> and this would violate fda rules by the way to have these ingredients in them.
>> oh, man.
>> there's one other thing i need to tell you, which is i'm chris hansen with "dateline" nbc.
>> i'm embarrassed right now because i didn't know anything about it.
>> do you feel responsible because you're selling the product?
>> i don't feel responsible because i'm working for somebody else that actually sells the product. i feel like they're lying to me.
>> they told you this is all natural ?
>> all natural .
>> plants, roots.
>> victor claimed he was just a victim himself. that his supplier never told him what was actually in the pills. so who is victor 's supplier? victor says it's a man named bob who also lives in vegas. so we called bob, said we were interested in buying some pleasure pills. bob said he would be happy to meet us for breakfast the next day. but bob never showed. so we found his address and paid a visit to his house.
>> that's me.
>> missed you at breakfast this morning.
>> couldn't make it. i'm not feeling good.
>> what happened?
>> 72 years old happened.
>> these red pills.
>> what about them?
>> how do you get them?
>> i don't know. i'm -- i had some pills, i no longer have any pills. and i don't have an answer for you.
>> what are they made from?
>> as far as i told you on the phone, four herbs.
>> i know you're law enforcement .
>> no, we're not law enforcement .
>> we're fda .
>> we're not fda .
>> whatever you are.
>> i told bob that the pills were not natural . that i'd be happy to explain what was really in them.
>> these are the knock-off active ingredient used in viagra and cialis .
>> so what is your function?
>> my function is that i'm chris hansen is "dateline" nbc.
>> what's all the cars --
>> i don't want to be on cameras.
>> you can hear my side of the story.
>> you're on film already.
>> i'm not going to be on film. i've done nothing wrong.
>> but victor insisted bob was his supplier. and he also told me out of concern for his customers he was getting out of the pleasure pill business.
>> you see the potential danger?
>> what are you going to do?
>> i'm going to --
>> which made it all the more surprising when we saw yet another pleasure pill ad just a week later. an ad we once again answered. and guess who showed up once again? believe it or not, victor . the man who told us he was done with the pleasure pill business. when he saw me --
>> victor , i thought you weren't going to sell the red pills.
>> i'm not. just leave me alone .
>> victor , you remember me? we told you they were dangerous. people complained about them and you're still selling them, victor . how come? how do you justify that?