Fake drugs have been found coated with “highway paint” and can pose life-threatening hazards, North Carolina officials warned after a recent case involving counterfeit prescriptions.
The state says using the medications can “endanger consumers’ lives” and that those who make them don’t care about potentially deadly consequences.
“Analysis on pills such as these has in some cases found highway paint being used to give the pills their distinctive color,” North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said Friday in a news release.
The statement came after a Rocky Mount man recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic counterfeit drugs, court records show.
Jamal Yousef Aqel, 66, had or sold more than 7,000 fake Viagra and Cialis pills, worth $42 each, police say, WITN reports.
He was accused of selling the bogus erectile dysfunction drugs to stores near his hometown, according to the North Carolina secretary of state, which says it was involved in the investigation.
Edenton Police Chief Henry King Jr, whose department also looked into Aqel’s actions, said they didn’t constitute a “harmless crime,” WITN reports.
“Law enforcement would not have any idea that the cause of death could have been related to the person taking a counterfeit Viagra or Cialis pill,” King told the station.
Aqel was ordered to serve just more than one year in federal prison and will be supervised for three more years, according to a court document filed July 15.