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Two US men get jail terms for trafficking fake ED drugs
Two men in the US who each trafficked more than 10,000 counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills have been sentenced to federal prison and ordered to pay fines to the pharma companies whose drugs they faked.
Martez Alando Gurley, 41, and Victor Lamar Coates, 47, were sentenced following earlier convictions of conspiring to traffic counterfeit Viagra and Cialis pills and introducing adulterated and misbranded prescription drugs onto the market. Both men had previously pleaded guilty to the charges.
Gurley was sentenced to almost seven years (75 months) in prison and ordered to pay $410,508 in restitution to the erectile dysfunction drugmakers Pfizer and Eli Lilly and Company, while Coates received a sentence of 46 months and a restitution fine of $314,565. Both defendants must also serve three years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms.
The men had trafficked the fake tablets from their homes via internet businesses, selling the drugs to individuals across the country and in the Houston, Texas, area for further distribution to unsuspecting customers, some of whom complained the drugs didn't work.
Gurley, from Napa, California, was found to have distributed almost 13,000 counterfeit Viagra and Cialis pills, selling bottles for between $40 and $50, while Philadelphia-based Coates sold at least 10,288 fake tablets.
The men had sourced and illegally imported the counterfeits from China from an individual Gurley knew by the name of "Alice", paying just $10 a bottle. Other pills were sourced from an individual within the US.
According to court documents, the operation had started in 2012, and Gurley was caught when he sold 188 bottles to an undercover federal agent.
During the men's re-arraignment hearing in June last year, special agent in charge Brian Moskowitz of Homeland Security Investigations in Houston, said: "The introduction of counterfeit drugs into the market should be of concern to every consumer of these products. The best defence against unknowingly buying these untested items of unknown origin is to purchase them from legitimate authorised sources."
The appearance of the fake pills trafficked by Gurley and Coates mimicked the genuine drugs, while the packaging closely resembled the registered trademarks of Lilly and Pfizer.
But tests found the drugs were anything but authentic. Tests revealed that the Viagra pills contained less than the 100mg of the drug's active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) sildenafil citrate, while the counterfeit Cialis was found to have small quantities of the Viagra API and none of the Cialis active ingredient tadalafil. Some of the fake Viagra tablets were also found to contain the unrelated compound 2-MBT (2-mercaptobenzothiazole), which is an organosulphur compound used in the processing of rubber and has been identified as a carcinogen.
On sentencing, US District Judge David Hittner asked the defendants whether they realised the potential to harm from distributing fake drugs and chastised them for masquerading the products as real.
Special agent in charge Spencer Morrison of the US Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations' Kansas City Field Office said: "When criminals introduce prescription drugs into the US that are not FDA-approved, they jeopardise the public's health. Our office will continue to pursue and bring to justice those whose quest for profits places the public's health at risk through the distribution of illegitimate drugs."
Earlier this year, a 72-year-old man from Florida was jailed for 21 months and ordered to pay $926,466 for conspiracy to smuggle misbranded and counterfeit drugs, including erectile dysfunction drugs, into the US.
How To Kill A Pedophile: My Beautiful Suicide book three
Now in control, Cosette focuses her addiction. After feeling the sting of betrayal, she makes her kills a little more public, and the public loves her for it! Mattie prays Cosette will come to her senses, but it’s an uphill battle with new friends joining Cosette’s family. And now with the public cheering on Louisville’s Vigilante, or Double V as she has come to be known, Cosette has no plans to stop. As a matter of fact, she has a goal for her addiction: take out Kentuckiana’s pedophile population.
Protected by a rogue cop, loved by the media, supported by her friends, what could go wrong?
I thought this was a interesting article.
Will Female Shortage In China Bring Down North Korean Regime?
Chinese men are buying North Korean women as wives.
But it's easy for Chinese, including smugglers and human traffickers, to cross illegally into North Korea, they say, and this props up a thriving black-market border trade that helps keep the barren North Korean economy afloat.
Dandong natives such as laid-off factory worker Lao Zhou, whose picturesque home town draws tourists eager to spy on North Korea with telescopes, shake their heads when they talk about refugees.
"North Korean women make good wives. They are beautiful and hard-working," he said, echoing an oft-repeated view. "It doesn't cost much to buy a North Korean girl for a wife and just a few thousand kwai (hundreds of dollars) to get them a residency permit."
There is also a slave trade in prostitutes. The demand for prostitutes will likely rise right along with the demand for wives.
Consider the larger context for this report about wife buying and female sex trade. On my FuturePundit blog I've reported on the sex ratio imbalance in China caused by the selective abortion of females.
Li said the normal newborn sex proportion is 100:104-107, and if China's disproportionate figure is allowed to continue unchecked, there would be 30 to 40 million marriage-age men who would be single all their lives by 2020. "Such serious gender disproportion poses a major threat to the healthy, harmonious and sustainable growth of the nation's population and would trigger such crimes and social problems as mercenary marriage, abduction of women and prostitution," Li said.
Some believe this sex ratio imbalance will make China militarily aggressive and they may be right.
In a new book, Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population (MIT Press), Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer warn that the spread of sex selection is giving rise to a generation of restless young men who will not find mates. History, biology, and sociology all suggest that these "surplus males" will generate high levels of crime and social disorder, the authors say. Even worse, they continue, is the possibility that the governments of India and China will build up huge armies in order to provide a safety valve for the young men's aggressive energies.
But consider a different possibility: Chinese men may buy so many North Korean wives that North Korea will either become militarily aggressive or collapse from within. This is not implausible. Those 30 to 40 million single men in China in the year 2020 mean there wil be 3 to 4 times more single men in China than there are women in North Korea. The Chinese will be more affluent than the North Koreans unless radical changes happen to North Korea's economy. North Korea is the place where Chinese men will have the best competitive advantage in angling for wives. The other East Asian countries are not nearly as poor as North Korea and North Korea shares a long 1,416 km land border with China.
China's economy is growing rapidly. Buying power of Chinese men is rising. Even poor Chinese farmers can afford to buy North Korean women.
Lee, the former clerk, said she was fooled into believing she would have a good life in China. "One day, a man from my home town came to see me. He was looking for good-looking women from North Korea to go to China. The prettier the better. I decided on the spot to go.
"Of course, he fooled me. He said he would introduce me to a good man, a university graduate, who was looking for a wife. Then I realized North Korean women were being sold at a cheap price to rural farmers in China."
The fact that even a rural farmer in China can afford to buy a North Korean wife means that there are far more people in China with the buying power to acquire a North Korean wife than there are North Korean women.
Expect the hostility of North Korean men toward China to increase.
Ryu remembers a woman six months pregnant arriving at the camp. The baby's father was Chinese. Four guards grabbed the woman's limbs and threw her toward the ceiling over and over until the woman aborted the fetus. Ryu helped clean up the blood afterwards. "The guards said they hated Chinese babies," says Ryu. "The North Koreans hate the Chinese now, because they are rich and betrayed socialism."
China has been cracking down on North Koreans trying to cross the border into China. But official corruption in China is sufficiently widespread that black market forces will probably prevail over official policy as a consequence of the rising buying power of single men desperate for wives.
Ms Kim was picked up a year after getting married and giving birth to a daughter. Her new family pleaded for her release, arguing that the baby needed her mother because she was still breastfeeding. Ms Kim says they paid a 10,000RMB bribe for her freedom. Three years later she is well established and has a residence permit.
Chinese men will pressure the Chinese government to allow North Korean women to pass into China. The Chinese government will see these women as a source of women to reduce the frustrations of single men who can not find Chinese wives. Chinese leaders are going to have to weigh the foreign policy and domestic policy consequences of their border policy with North Korea. If they continue to clamp down this may just encourage more corruption.
Chinese money is also going to flow to North Korean border guards and officials and corrupt them as well. This is already happening. So the North Korean guards are not all immune to the enticements of cash in exchange for looking the other way. As living standards rise in China and the female shortage worsens the amount of money available for smuggling women out of North Korea will rise.
The shortage of women in China may end up posing an existential threat to the Pyongyang regime more powerful than anything US policy makers are likely to do. North Korean leaders might react to this threat by engaging in market liberalization reforms aimed at raising North Korean living standards enough to reduce the level of desperation of North Korean women.
The regime in North Korea faces a more general economic threat from China because of rising wages in China. The higher the wages go the greater the incentive for Northeast China factory managers and other businesses to turn to the black market to supply cheap North Korean labor. This will pull both men and women out of North Korea. Will that destabilize the regime more or less than the selective removal of women from North Korea?
Changhong has unveiled a new smartphone that can read the sweetness of fruit, detect alcohol in a drink, and even distinguish between real and fake pills.
The H2 handheld is equipped with SCiO material sensing technology that can analyse the properties of everything from food to body metrics.
Revealed at CES in Las Vegas, the breakthrough design can give you insight on a product’s underlying chemical composition almost instantly – but, they haven’t yet said how much it will cost.
The device incorporates SCiO’s tiny near-infrared spectrometer, giving it the ability to read molecular property.
Not only could this help people to choose the best fruit in the grocery store or stick to a particular diet, but it could also be used to determine the authenticity of more sensitive products.
In a demonstration at CES, Hagai Heshes of Consumer Physics showed Dailymail.com just how it works, using the example of Viagra and an identical imitation pill.
To analyze the materials, Heshes pressed the phone right up the pills.
‘This is spectrometry,’ Heshes told Dailymail.com, explaining the technology.
‘You have very big machines in labs. But, what we were able to do is miniaturize them and put them in phones.
‘What it does is, it emits a light gets back the reflection. The reflection has a certain spectrum – every material has a different spectrum.
‘We send it to the cloud, and analyze that spectrum that was reflected from the material.’
After scanning both, and indicating that one had unrecognizable properties, it was also able to link the composition of the correct pill to a number of known medications.
A message popped up on the screen, reading: ‘Verified. Looks like Viagra, Tarim, Revatio, and other pills containing Sildenafil.’
The firm plans to reveal the price of their device tomorrow at CES.
And, it isn’t only H2 users that can have the tiny material sensor.
A standalone device called the SCiO can pair with any other phone, they explained, allowing an Android or iPhone user to unlock the same capabilities.
The ‘pocket-sized molecular sensor’ is already available for roughly $250.
Along with this, SCiO showed off a smart water bottle with the same technology, which the firm says could tell you if alcohol, or something else, is in the drink.
Injury from chemical weapon agents, known as CWAs, may result from industrial accidents, military stockpiling, war, or a terrorist attack.
Industrial accidents are a significant potential source of exposure to chemical agents. Chemicals such as phosgene, cyanide, anhydrous ammonia, and chlorine are used widely. These chemicals are frequently transported by industry. The accidental release of a methylisocyanate cloud (composed of phosgene and isocyanate) was implicated in the Bhopal, India, disaster in 1984.
Chemical weapons first were used in 1915, when the German military released 168 tons of chlorine gas at Ypres, Belgium, killing an estimated 5,000 Allied troops.
Two years later, the same battlefields saw the first deployment of sulfur mustard. Sulfur mustard was the major cause of chemical casualties in World War I.
CWAs have been used in at least 12 conflicts since, including the first Persian Gulf War (Iraq-Iran War). The Iraqi military also used chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds during the second Persian Gulf War.
Civilians also have been exposed inadvertently to chemical weapons many years after weapon deployment during war. Some 50,000 tons of mustard shells were disposed of in the Baltic Sea following World War I. Since then, numerous fishermen have been burned accidentally while hauling leaking shells aboard boats. Leaking mustard shells also have injured collectors of military memorabilia and children playing on old battlefields.
Although a number of international treaties have banned the development, production, and stockpiling of chemical weapons, these agents reportedly are stillbeing produced or stockpiled in several countries.
Within the last decade, terrorists deployed chemical weapons against civilian populations for the first time in history. The release of sarin in Matsumoto, Japan, in June 1994 by the extremist Aum Shinrikyo cult left 7 dead and 280 injured. The following year, the Aum Shinrikyo cult released sarin vapor in the Tokyo subway system during morning rush hour, leaving 12 dead and sending more than 5,000 casualties to local hospitals.
Several characteristics of chemical weapon agents lend themselves to terrorist use.
Chemicals used in CWAs are widely available, and recipes for CWA production may be found on the Internet.
CWAs are transported easily and may be delivered by a variety of routes.
Chemical agents often are difficult to protect against and quickly incapacitate the intended targets.
Most civilian medical communities are inadequately prepared to deal with a chemical terrorist attack.
In the past few days, the Internet has been filled with commentary on whether the National Science Foundation should have paid for my study on duck genitalia, and 88.7 percent of respondents to a Fox news online poll agreed that studying duck genitalia is wasteful government spending. The commentary supporting and decrying the study continues to grow. As the lead investigator in this research, I would like to weigh in on the controversy and offer some insights into the process of research funding by the NSF.
My research on bird genitalia was originally funded in 2005, during the Bush administration. Thus federal support for this research cannot be connected exclusively to sequestration or the Obama presidency, as many of the conservative websites have claimed.
Since Sen. William Proxmire's Golden Fleece awards in the 1970s and 1980s, basic science projects are periodically singled out by people with political agendas to highlight how government “wastes” taxpayer money on seemingly foolish research. These arguments misrepresent the distinction between and the roles of basic and applied science. Basic science is not aimed at solving an immediate practical problem. Basic science is an integral part of scientific progress, but individual projects may sound meaningless when taken out of context. Basic science often ends up solving problems anyway, but it is just not designed for this purpose. Applied science builds upon basic science, so they are inextricably linked. As an example, Geckskin™ is a new adhesive product with myriad applications developed by my colleagues at the University of Massachusetts. Their work is based on several decades of basic research on gecko locomotion.
Whether the government should fund basic research in times of economic crisis is a valid question that deserves well-informed discourse comparing all governmental expenses. As a scientist, my view is that supporting basic and applied research is essential to keep the United States ahead in the global economy. The government cannot afford not to make that investment. In fact, I argue that research spending should increase dramatically for the United States to continue to lead the world in scientific discovery. Investment in the NSF is just over $20 per year per person, while it takes upward of $2,000 per year per person to fund the military. Basic research has to be funded by the government rather than private investors because there are no immediate profits to be derived from it.
Because the NSF budget is so small, and because we have so many well-qualified scientists in need of funds, competition to obtain grants is fierce, and funding rates at the time this research was funded had fallen well below 10 percent. Congress decides the total amount of money that the NSF gets from the budget, but it does not decide which individual projects are funded—and neither does the president or his administration. Funding decisions are made by panels of scientists who are experts in the field and based on peer review by outsiders, often the competitors of the scientists who submitted the proposal. The review panel ranks proposals on their intellectual merits and impacts to society before making a recommendation. This recommendation is then acted upon by program officers and other administrators, who are also scientists, at the NSF.
This brings us back to the ducks. Male ducks force copulations on females, and males and females are engaged in a genital arms race with surprising consequences. Male ducks have elaborate corkscrew-shaped penises, the length of which correlates with the degree of forced copulation males impose on female ducks. Females are often unable to escape male coercion, but they have evolved vaginal morphology that makes it difficult for males to inseminate females close to the sites of fertilization and sperm storage. Males have counterclockwise spiraling penises, while females have clockwise spiraling vaginas and blind pockets that prevent full eversion of the male penis.
Our latest study examined how the presence of other males influences genital morphology. My colleagues and I found that it does so to an amazing degree, demonstrating that male competition is a driving force behind these male traits that can be harmful to females. The fact that this grant was funded, after the careful scrutiny of many scientists and NSF administrators, reflects the fact that this research is grounded in solid theory and that the project was viewed as having the potential to move science forward (and it has), as well as fascinate and engage the public. The research has been reported on positively by hundreds of news sites in recent years, even Fox news. Most of the grant money was spent on salaries, putting money back into the economy.
The commentary and headlines in some of the recent articles reflect outrage that the study was about duck genitals, as if there is something inherently wrong or perverse with this line of research. Imagine if medical research drew the line at the belt! Genitalia, dear readers, are where the rubber meets the road, evolutionarily. To fully understand why some individuals are more successful than others during reproduction, there may be no better place to look. The importance of evolutionary research on other species’ genitalia to the medical field has been recently highlighted in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Generating new knowledge of what factors affect genital morphology in ducks, one of the few vertebrate species other than humans that form pair bonds and exhibit violent sexual coercion, may have significant applied uses in the future, but we must conduct the basic research first. In the meantime, while we engage in productive and respectful discussion of how we envision the future of our nation, why not marvel at how evolution has resulted in such counterintuitive morphology and bizarre animal behavior.
Genital surgery is one of the fastest growing areas of plastic surgery.
In our quest for perfection and amid a growing obsession with body image, it seems women now have a new part of the anatomy to worry about – our vaginas. Genital plastic surgery is one of the fastest-growing areas in cosmetic surgery, and one of the most popular procedures being requested – mostly by young women – is a labiaplasty.
A labiaplasty – or labial rejuvenation – is a procedure whereby the inner labia, or labia minora, get trimmed back so they look more "tucked in". The surgery is generally done under a local anaesthetic, so the patient is awake while it is being performed. The process takes around 90 minutes and you can walk out of the surgery, returning to normal activities within a few days – except for sex, which you should hold off for four to six weeks.
The reason for the rise
"There has been a huge surge in the past five years of people looking to get genital surgery, and the vast majority of these are getting a labiaplasty, vaginoplasty (vaginal tightening) or liposuction in the pelvic area or labia," says Dr Laith Barnouti, a leading Sydney plastic surgeon.
Barnouti says that currently around 20 per cent of his clients are coming in for genital surgery. The youngest to date was 14, the oldest in her mid-sixties. A 2010 report also found that the number of clinically necessary procedures – that is, not solely for cosmetic reasons – performed by private practitioners nearly doubled in recent years.
So why are women requesting this procedure? There are a few reasons, says Barnouti, including feeling "socially embarrassed… people can't wear certain types of bathers, people feel embarrassed in intimate situations". But the reasons go beyond the aesthetic, he claims.
"Labiaplasty and vaginoplasty are often performed due to a medical condition – people actually have it for a functional reason," Dr Barnouti says. "Labial hypertrophy – enlargement or sagging of the labia – can be unhealthy and unhygienic."
Vaginoplasty, which is usually performed on women who have a weakened perineum after giving birth, is a "restorative, reconstructive procedure", says Barnouti. "This is something completely different from, say, liposuction, which is a purely cosmetic procedure."
What is normal?
But are women having genital surgery for other reasons – to please a boyfriend perhaps, or because they feel their vagina is not normal? Do women actually hate the appearance of their vulvas so much that they will have parts of them surgically removed?
The 2008 UK documentary The Perfect Vagina explored the reasons why women opt for this type of surgery, and found that many do it because they've been teased by someone close to them about the way their genitals look, or have just decided their vagina looks abnormal.
In the documentary, Professor Linda Cordoza, a leading UK gynaecologist, says while women are much more aware of what's available in terms of plastic surgery procedures, it doesn't necessarily mean they know what's normal.
"There's been a huge trend towards bikini waxing, doing things with your pubic hair as well as the hair on your head. So [women think] if you can have cosmetic surgery done to your face, you can also have cosmetic surgery done on your genitals." Cordoza says.
"I sometimes get two or three generations of women in the same family coming in saying they want their labia trimmed."
The role of pornography
Our perception of what is normal is most definitely clouded by the proliferation of pornographic images featuring women with smaller, tucked in – and often heavily airbrushed – private parts.
As women, we don't often see vaginas other than our own, so if the only images we see are of highly airbrushed genitals, naturally many of us are going to assume that what we have is "different" or "abnormal".
Melinda Tankard Reist is a media commentator and author of Big Porn Inc and Getting Real – Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press). She believes pornography is a big driver in the rise in cosmetic surgery.
"Girls are made to feel inadequate and think that there's something wrong with their perfectly natural, healthy bodies. And boys are expecting girls to provide the porn star experience," Reist says.
Reist adds that it's important women pass on positive body image messages to their daughters, and that cosmetic surgeons should play their part by refusing to operate on very young women, rather than "capitalising on the body angst of girls".
Barnouti says women contemplating any type of cosmetic surgery should be doing it for themselves, not anyone else.
"What we do here is for the patient, not their partner," Barnouti says. "If you're going to have a procedure, have it for yourself. Just because someone makes a negative comment doesn't mean you should change your whole body."
Labiaplasty – the facts
The procedure: A labiaplasty takes around 90 minutes and patients are usually under twilight sedation – either local anaesthetic or IV sedation – meaning they are awake for the surgery. During the procedure the surgeon removes a wedge-shaped piece of tissue and re-attaches the labium so the inner lips no longer protrude beyond the outer lips.
The recovery: Three to four days for normal activities, including going back to work, but avoid exerting yourself physically. You can't run or jog for two weeks, and no sex for four to six weeks. The stitches used are usually dissolvable.
The cost: Labiaplasty costs around $4000 to $5000 if you have private healthcare cover, otherwise you can expect to add another $2000. To be available under Medicare it must be deemed clinically necessary.
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