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Fake impotence drugs at center of U.S. probe

The U.S. International Trade Commission said Tuesday it was investigating complaints against several Internet-based companies offering imported impotence and other drugs via mail order.
/ Source: Reuters

The U.S. International Trade Commission said Tuesday it was investigating complaints against several Internet-based companies offering imported impotence and other drugs via mail order.

The sites are selling unlicensed Cialis in violation of patent law, Lilly ICOS LLC, a joint venture of Eli Lilly and Co. Ltd. and Icos Corp. that makes the drug, said in the complaint.

The trade commission said it would investigate the complaint and would pursue a hearing before a federal administrative judge on whether the Cialis imports should be stopped.

A spokeswoman said Lilly had filed a complaint alleging unfair practices and patent infringement. The complaint names 10 companies, including Pharmacy4us of New York, Expressgeneric of Bangalore, India, and Allpills.us of Beverly Hills, Calif.

Cialis, known generically as tadalafil, has been used to treat more than 4.5 million patients with erectile dysfunction.

Representatives of Lilly and several of the companies named in the complaint were not immediately available for comment, and some of the Web sites named could not be found.

Separately, the Food and Drug Administration warned that Mexican pharmacies near the U.S. border have been selling counterfeit versions of Pfizer Inc.’s impotence pill Viagra, Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor and Lilly’s osteoporosis drug Evista. The fake osteoporosis drug was sold as “generic Evista.”

Consumers who have purchased any of the counterfeit products should not use them and should contact a doctor immediately, the FDA said.