COLUMBIA, SC — Federal authorities seized nearly $4 million in fake drugs and designer products over a two-week period from a warehouse near Williams-Brice Stadium, the Department of Homeland Security said Friday.
The warehouse allegedly served as a re-shipping facility for counterfeit drugs manufactured in India and designer goods produced in China, the Department of Homeland Securitys U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office said.
The warehouses location was not made public. No arrests have been made, said Vincent Picard, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, adding an investigation is continuing.
Between Feb. 19 and March 6, $3.6 million in counterfeit pharmaceuticals including Viagra, Cialis and Proscar, and $290,000 in counterfeit or pirated DVDs, sunglasses, handbags and other products were confiscated.
S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond, whose office worked with federal authorities in the investigation, said counterfeit goods hurt legitimate businesses as well as consumers.
Fake medicine takes this harm to another level because it can literally kill you. ... Passing off so-called pharmaceuticals as a cheap alternative to name-brand medicine is a prescription for disaster, Hammond said.
I am very pleased that these fakes are off of our streets.
Vincent Picard, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement , said consumers always should be cautious when purchasing drugs online, especially if the offer comes unsolicited in an email.
The buyer must beware. If the deal looks too good to be true it probably is, Picard said. He acknowledged that there have been instances of counterfeit drugs making their way into pharmacy shelves, but thats the exception, not the rule.