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Leader of Spam Network Fined $15 million for Selling Counterfeit Drugs

Be careful when purchasing medications online; always verify the name and address of the pharmacy.It has recently been reported that a US federal court has fined the head of a group of online spammers $15 million. The spammers are thought to be responsible for one third of the world’s junk email. The products they advertised included supplements for erectile dysfunction, weight loss and hair loss. Lance Atkinson, from New Zealand, ran a team of people who supplied illegal pharmaceuticals worldwide. The group was ordered to stop their operations after US authorities received over 3 million complaints from web users. An investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that many of the spam emails sent out offered drugs which claimed to be FDA-approved. Furthermore, the spam emails claimed these ‘medications’ were being dispensed from licensed pharmacies in the USA. Infact, the drugs were found to have been posted in India, with no approval from any health authority.

Although the FTC was unable to carry out a full analysis of the products to see how many were counterfeit, there was evidence that suggested products were “potentially unsafe”. An analysis of a penis enlargement product, described to consumers as herbal, found that it contained the erectile dysfunction drug Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Pfizer’s Viagra. The network also supplied the hair loss treatment Propecia (its active ingredient is finasteride), which is potentially harmful if handled by pregnant women, as well as other drugs for serious health conditions such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) for high blood cholesterol, arthritis treatment Celebrex (celecoxib) and the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline).

It has been reported that Jody Smith, another member of the network, pled guilty in August to the criminal charge of conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods and has agreed to hand over approximately $800,000-worth of assets and faces up to five years in prison. He is expected to be sentenced later this month.

In addition to the $15 million that Atkinson and his company have been ordered to pay, the three companies affiliated with Smith are liable for $3.77 million. It has been reported that the spammers were also found guilty of making fake claims about the security of people’s credit cards as well as other information that they provided when they purchased the fake medicines.

The FTC described this operation as one of the biggest online scams they had ever come across. It is an important reminder of why spam emails should be binned and why it is essential to take the necessary precautions when purchasing medicines online. Always verify the name and address of the dispensing pharmacy. When it comes to purchasing hair loss treatments, the Belgravia Centre has its own in-house registered pharmacy. Clients can either collect their medications from the pharmacy or they can be sent out anywhere in the world. Either way, Belgravia clients have the peace of mind of knowing that their medications are prepared with the utmost care and come from a trust-worthy and reliable source.

If you would like to discuss hair loss treatments, contact the Belgravia Centre for a diagnosis. Consultations are free of charge and can be done at the clinic or via the website. To book an appointment, just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, submit the online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will be in contact over the next 2 working days.

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