According to the affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint, during the course of 2008, 2009, and 2010, the FDA issued a series of alerts on its website concerning tainted weight loss pills and counterfeit drugs.
The alerts focused on Meitzitang, “Superslim,” and “2 Day Diet” imported from China and being marketed as dietary supplements or nutritional products. The FDA stated in these initial alerts that the items posed a very serious health risk to consumers, because, based on analysis, they were found to be drugs that contained undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients, including Sibutramine (a controlled substance), antidepressants, potent diuretics available only by prescription, and drugs not approved in the United States.
The ingredient Sibutramine, can cause high blood pressure, seizures, tachycardia, palpitations, heart attack or stroke. In later alerts, FDA warned the public about counterfeit versions of the brand name drug Alli, a popular over the counter weight loss drug manufactured by Glaxo-Smith Klein. The alerts indicated that these counterfeit drugs were also being imported into the United States from China and did not contain the proper active pharmaceutical ingredient for the authentic product but instead contained dangerous levels of Sibutramine. The counterfeit versions of Alli were being sold in the United States, among other ways, through internet auction websites.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Harmon.