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Pharmacist charged with selling counterfeit Viagra

There may have been a lot of unhappy men on the Northwest Side.

A now-suspended pharmacist was dispensing male enhancement drugs from his pharmacy but the Viagra and Cialis he was dealing were counterfeit, according to a federal indictment announced Thurday.

Michael Markiewicz, who owns Belmont Pharmacy at 6148 W. Belmont Ave., was indicted for allegedly illegally buying counterfeit Viagra and Cialis from China, then dispensing the bogus medications at his pharmacy, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Markiewicz ordered three shipments of counterfeit Viagra from China, including one that also contained fake Cialis, and sold them drugs from December 2010 through August 2012, according to federal prosecutors.

The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation suspended Markiewicz’ pharmacist license and revoked the license of Belmont Pharmacy in November 2012, but the store continues operating as a nutrition and herb retailer, according to prosecutors.

Markiewicz, aka Michael Markowitz, 36, of Norridge, was charged with eight counts of violating the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; four counts of trafficking in counterfeit drugs or goods using a counterfeit mark; and three counts of smuggling in a 15-count indictment returned on Wednesday by a federal grand jury.

According to the indictment, in April 2011 and May 2012, Markiewicz ordered the phony drugs from China via the Internet. The customs declaration stated it contained a “gift pen,” and the drugs were hidden in unlabeled clear plastic bags under the pen, the indictment alleges.

Markiewicz will be arraigned in U.S. District Court at a later date, and the indictment seeks forfeiture of his business and residence.

Trafficking counterfeit drugs carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $2 million fine; trafficking counterfeit goods using a counterfeit mark carries a maximum of 10 years and a $2 million fine; smuggling carries a maximum of 20 years and a $250,000 fine; and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act carries a maximum of three years and a $250,000 fine.

STNG Wire



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