Lawsuits will proceed against retailers accused of selling illicit Viagra pills

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October 13, 2018 -- A superior court judge has allowed a lawsuit against a group of Santa Monica convenience stores allegedly selling supplements laced with prescription and unapproved drugs to proceed by denying a Chevron gas stations defense motion to dismiss the case.

The ruling by Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg on Oct. 20 means the owners have 20 days to respond to lawsuits accusing them of engaging in unfair competition and false advertising by selling falsely-labeled “all natural” and “safe” male enhancement pills. The Rhino-brand ingredient labels do not list their inclusion of sildenafil – the active ingredient in Viagra.

The local lawsuits only address the stores’ civil violations, though the sale of prescription drugs by anyone other than a licensed pharmacist is prohibited under state and federal regulatory laws.

“The judge’s decision should make it crystal clear that retailers selling this potentially deadly drug face civil liability for putting people’s lives in danger,” said Robert Tauler, a principal at Tauler Smith LLP, in Los Angeles and a nationally-recognized expert in adulterated health supplements and false advertising law.

Using Viagra without a doctor’s supervision can result in serious penile injuries (blood clots and amputation, for instance,) heart attacks, stroke and vision problems. Men have died after taking Viagra-laced “all natural” erectile dysfunction pills like those identified in the suit.

Tauler represents Houston-based Outlaw Laboratory LP, which makes competing natural products that meet strict FDA dietary supplement regulations. Federal law allows competitors to sue retailers for false advertising if products contain secret ingredients. The products named in the lawsuit do not disclose the presence of hidden drugs such as sildenafil, tadalafil and dapoxetine on their labels.

C. Kerry Fields, University of Southern California business ethics and product liability expert, told the Santa Monica Mirror in June that businesses selling products containing secret ingredients put themselves in serious legal peril. “There may be a good margin selling those products but it’s not worth the risk because they are representing to the public that their goods are safe… Consumers might sue them as well…,” Fields told the Mirror.

About Tauler Smith LLP

Tauler Smith LLP specializes in high-stakes commercial litigation representing both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of areas, including business disputes, false advertising, the foreign corrupt practices act, and unfair competition.

Lawsuits will proceed against retailers accused of selling illicit Viagra pills
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