Drug counterfeited: Lipitor
Company copied: Pfizer
Years: 2003 and 2005
Over 18 million cholesterol-lowering Lipitor tablets in 15 US states were recalled in 2003 when patients claimed the drug had an unusual bitter taste. Officials later found the pills contained a mixture of unknown substances instead of the actual product. Julio Cesar Cruz of Miami pleaded guilty to the scam -- he was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison and paid over $7 million in fines.
In 2005, approximately 240 stores in the United Kingdom sent back their supply of Lipitor due to claims of counterfeits entering the legitimate supply chain. About 60% of the recalls, worth about 200 million British pounds, were fakes. Internet trading was mentioned as one of the reasons behind the counterfeit's successful marketing.
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Last updated June 08 2010: 4:16 PM ET