Charles Kraft, R.N. is a Healthcare, Medical Device and Nutraceutical Expert.
He serves as V.P. of Functional Health at MaxLabs U.S.
Bad Pills Series: Illegal Sale of Over the Counter Viagra Without Prescription
2017 marks the 22nd year I have been able to proudly include the designation “R.N.” after my name. I say “proudly” not only because my choice of a career in nursing has afforded me the opportunity to do amazing things at leading hospitals and medical products companies across the U.S.- National surveys rank nursing, year-after-year, as the “most trusted profession.” I’ve had the tremendous honor of working with other talented and trusted professionals over the years who also appear on this list- friends who have earned designations like “M.D.” and “PharmD.”
Physicians and Pharmacists, the highly-skilled professionals everyone relies upon to diagnose & treat conditions and to prepare and dispense your prescribed medicines. So, you ask “What do Doctors and Pharmacists have to do with male enhancement pills? Aren’t those just natural supplements that don’t require a prescription?” The answer “should” be an emphatic “YES!”
Retailers who knowingly sell products labeled as dietary supplements that have been spiked with pharmaceuticals or are engaged in the importation and sale of pharmaceuticals including versions of prescription erection pills such as Viagra and Cialis are crossing a line- In doing so aren't they actually assuming the roles of America's most trusted professionals?The prescribing and dispensing of such products is restricted to clinical professionals for good reason- these products send thousands to the hospital annually and can even cost you your life. I’ll provide a real-life scenario demonstrating the dangers of retailers acting as “Clinicians.”
Our operatives are actively visiting websites, adult novelty stores and convenience outlets from coast-to-coast to see what sexual enhancement pills are being promoted and acquiring samples for our ongoing competitive benchmarking study. What we discovered recently in one Texas adult store is a prime example of what should never happen- Here’s how our visit went:
MaxLabs US: “Hi, I’m interested in some of these sexual supplement pills, is there anything you recommend.”
Store Clerk: “Oh yeah, I definitely recommend [BRAND]. It’s really strong and everyone loves it.” [and produces a box]
NOTE: The package the clerk presented was clearly labeled as “Sildenafil Citrate” and was a package of 4 – 100mg film-coated tablets. Sildenafil Citrate is the active ingredient in Viagra.
MaxLabs US: “Hmmmm. I think that stuff might contain the ingredient in Viagra… I’ve got a few health issues and probably shouldn’t take it.”
Store Clerk: “What’s great about [BRAND] is, it’s Sildenafil CITRATE. Its Sildenafil NITRATE folks with health problems should watch out for… The nitrate kind is what you want to avoid completely. This Citrate kind of supplement is totally safe. If you have issues when you take a whole pill, just break the next one in half and take less. It’s made by a doctor in India we buy it from. It’s so popular my boss bought a warehouse full of it.”
MaxLabs US: “Wow, you really seem to know a lot about this pill. I guess the manufacturer educated you on this topic.”
Store Clerk: “No, I had a year of nursing school a few years back, so I learned a lot about these things then.”
We proceeded to buy the recommended Sildenafil Citrate “supplement” and a few “runner-ups” to take into the lab. As revealed, the clerk actually sold us generic Viagra over the counter without a prescription. Analysis of the product showed it to be a legitimate generic brand produced by an Indian pharmaceutical company which promotes it primarily in European countries. Various entities were discovered that will illegally drop ship it to the United States- presumably how our friend in Houston filled their warehouse.
There are numerous reckless and illegal aspects to this whole scenario, but let’s examine them through our theme of “earned professional credentials” and ask some important questions.
Is the retailer operating as an unlicensed Pharmacy by selling products clearly labeled as containing active pharmaceutical ingredients?
Is the store clerk acting as an unlicensed Physician by recommending the prescription medication?
Is the store clerk acting as an unlicensed Pharmacist by dispensing the product and offering guidance on adjusting doses based on side effects?
Is the store clerk acting as an unlicensed Registered Nurse by providing consumers clinical product education supported by her year of school?
Luckily, I escaped with my life. So exactly what’s the motivation for someone to assume all the risk associated with “playing clinician” and illegally operating as a pharmacy? Consider the fact the Indians sell the package we bought at a bulk price of $1.20 each. If you get it through customs and sell it for $39.99 (the price we paid), a $38.79 profit is the likely and unfortunate reason. As for the store clerk, I hope the store owner shares enough of the profits with her that she can go back to nursing school and finish the pharmacology classes she obviously hasn’t taken yet.
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