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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Two Sentenced for Trafficking in Counterfeit Viagra and Cialis

HOUSTON – Two men have been sentenced to federal prison following convictions of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit Viagra and Cialis and introducing adulterated and misbranded prescription drugs into interstate commerce, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Martez Alando Gurley, 41, and Victor Lamar Coates, 47, admitted they each trafficked more than 10,000 counterfeit tablets.

Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner sentenced Gurley to 75 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $410,508 in restitution to Pfizer Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company - the licensed patent trademark holders of Viagra and Cialis. Coates received a sentence of 46 months and must pay $314,565 in restitution. Each defendant must also serve three years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms.

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with ensuring that prescription drugs distributed to U.S. consumers are safe and effective. When criminals introduce prescription drugs into the U.S. that are not FDA-approved, they jeopardize the public’s health,” said Special Agent in Charge Spencer E. Morrison of the FDA - Office of Criminal Investigations’ (OCI) Kansas City Field Office. “Our office will continue to pursue and bring to justice those whose quest for profits places the public’s health at risk through the distribution of illegitimate drugs.”

Gurley was convicted of trafficking at least 12,960 counterfeit Viagra and counterfeit Cialis tablets from his home in Napa, California, while Coates was convicted of trafficking at least 10,288 counterfeit Viagra and counterfeit Cialis tablets from his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both defendants sold the counterfeit drugs to individuals in the Houston area for further distribution to unsuspecting customers. Gurley and Coates illegally imported the counterfeit into the United States from sources in China.

Testing on samples of the counterfeit Viagra revealed the drugs contained less than the 100 mg of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) listed on the labels, while testing on the counterfeit Cialis revealed small quantities of the Viagra API and none of the Cialis API. In addition, some of the counterfeit Viagra tablets were found to contain the unrelated compound 2-MBT. The counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets looked like the authentic products and included labels and packaging that closely resembled the registered trademarks of Eli Lilly and Company, and Pfizer Inc.

In arriving at the sentences, Judge Hittner considered the fact that the illegally imported counterfeit drugs did not contain the correct medication indicated on the labelling and could cause harm to unsuspecting consumers of the pills.

Gurley was immediately taken into custody following the hearing pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future, while Coates was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender at a later date.

The FDA - OCI and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Health Care Fraud
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated December 6, 2016