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Pharmacist gets year in prison for selling fake Viagra, Cialis on NW Side

A northwest suburban pharmacist who for years offered Viagra and Cialis to men without a prescription has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for selling the fake male potency drugs.

Michael Markiewicz admitted he illegally purchased the fake Viagra and Cialis from China, then dispensed them to customers at his Belmont Pharmacy at 6148 W. Belmont, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The 38-year-old Norridge resident pleaded guilty last year to one count of trafficking and attempting to traffic in a counterfeit drug, and one count of dispensing a counterfeit drug with intent to defraud and mislead.

According to the plea agreement, Markiewicz admitted he ordered about 1,600 counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets from China over the Internet, and sold the fakes between 2010 and 2012. Had the pills been genuine, they would have been worth about $35,000.

The package entered the country with a customs declaration stating they were “gift pens,” with the counterfeit drugs hidden in unlabeled plastic baggies under the pens, federal prosecutors said. Markiewicz sold the fakes for about $20 per pill to customers who bought the male-enhancement products without a prescription.

The state Department of Professional Regulation suspended Markiewicz’s pharmacist license and revoked the store’s pharmacy license in November 2012, though the store remains open dealing in nutrition and herbal products.

Markiewicz was charged in April 2013 with eight counts of violating the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; four counts of trafficking in counterfeit drugs or goods using a counterfeit mark; and three counts of smuggling. A superseding indictment was returned in March 2015 by a federal grand jury.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee also ordered Markiewicz to pay $10,000 and forfeit his pharmacy to the government.