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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 2, 2015

Suspended North Side Pharmacist Pleads Guilty To Trafficking Counterfeit Viagra

CHICAGO — A suspended Chicago pharmacist today admitted to illegally obtaining counterfeit Viagra and Cialis from China and illegally dispensing the bogus medications at his north side pharmacy. The defendant, MICHAEL MARKIEWICZ, who owns Belmont Pharmacy, 6148 West Belmont, pled guilty to trafficking counterfeit Viagra from his pharmacy between 2010 and 2012.  United States District Court Judge John Z. Lee scheduled sentencing for July 8, 2015.

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

Markiewicz, 38, of Norridge, was charged in April 2013 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.  A superseding indictment was returned in March 2015 by a federal grand jury.  Defendant Markiewicz pled guilty today to Count One and Count Five of the superseding indictment, trafficking and attempting to traffic in counterfeit Viagra and holding for sale and dispensing counterfeit Viagra.

The plea was announced today by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; John J. Redmond,Special Agent-in-Charge of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations; and Tony Gomez, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.

According to the plea agreement, between 2010 and 2012, via the Internet, Markiewicz ordered approximately 1600 counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets from China. The customs declaration on each outer packaging stated that it contained a “gift pen,” and the counterfeit drugs were hidden in unlabeled clear plastic baggies underneath the pen in the package. Markiewicz then sold the counterfeit drugs at his pharmacy to customers who had sought to purchase the medications without a prescription.

Trafficking counterfeit drugs carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine, and violating the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The Belmont Pharmacy is subject to forfeiture.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel B. Cole and Eric S. Pruitt.

Updated July 23, 2015