When Swedish police and customs officials confiscated 6,300 unapproved erectile-dysfunction and male-enhancement pills purchased over the Internet, one-third of the samples contained ingredients that weren’t supposed to be present. One, an Indian herbal compound with the not-at-all-funny name Penisole contained the rat poison strychnine.
Authorities seized 42,000 counterfeit pills during the nationwide operation in September, 6,300 of which were what they called “counterfeit Viagra,” according to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet (“The evening sheet”). Only one-half of those pills contained sildenafil, the main active ingredient in Viagra.
Several of the samples contained a lower dosage of the ingredients than their marketers advertised. Some that did contain genuine sildenafil, however, delivered far more than the 100 mg recommended daily maximum dose, exposing consumers to added stroke and heart disease risks.
Several of the products also contained unlisted active ingredients, including a painkiller called Diclofenac which — ironically enough — the National institutes of Health says doctors can prescribe to reduce “swelling and stiffness.”