Man Charged With Fraud, Accused Of Importing Illegal Sex Drugs

Image courtesy of Steven Depolo

One important consumer lesson that we hope our readers take away from this site is that erectile dysfunction drugs that you find on a gas station counter are never a good idea. An Alabama man has been charged with intentionally defrauding and misleading consumers for importing a drug sold as a “male enhancement product” that contained sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.


No, Viagra isn’t available as a generic drug yet, and it isn’t available as an over-the-counter one, either. Yet over-the-counter sexual aids sold as “dietary supplements” are so common that the Food and Drug Administration has a special “Tainted Sexual Enhancement Products” page it lists new products that the agency has tested.

Another notable case were the “Black Ant” supplements, which were not capsules of ground-up black ants, but in fact contained the active ingredient in Viagra.

Other than its public health value, you can also learn a lot about marketing from reading the names these products were sold under. The supplements, which actually included unknown amounts of the active ingredients in Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, include:

The most common real drug or analogue found in these pills is sildenafil, which is still only legally available in the U.S. as Pfizer’s Viagra. It’s safe when it’s prescribed by an actual doctor who knows something about your health and other medications that you take, and when you know how much of the active ingredient you’re taking.

Capsules marketed as “herbal supplements” and sold on the counter of a gas station, on the other hand, don’t tell you what’s actually in them, and could potentially cause a drug interaction with medications that contain nitrates.

Zhen Gong Fu is only one on this long list of “supplements” sold over the counter in this way, and the man who imported and distributed them to wholesalers who in turn sold them to gas stations and truck stops has been released from jail on a $5,000 bond and pleaded not guilty.

Feds charge seller of mislabeled Chinese ‘Viagra substitute’ [Associated Press]

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