China sentences fake Viagra kingpin

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chinaA CHINESE man has been jailed for eight years for making 60 tonnes of fake sex pills, state media reported today as China cracks down on pirates who copy nearly every type of product.

Xi Yongli and his accomplices sold 21.8 million yuan ($3.6 million) worth of America Number One, Male Exclusive, Great Big Brother – the popular Chinese name for Viagra – and other pills and ingredients promising men vibrant sexual lives, a court in central China's Anhui province found, Xinhua news agency said today.

Xi and his gang received sentences spanning from a little over a year to eight years for making and selling medicine without a licence, selling counterfeits, and illegally processing Sildenafil Citrate – the key ingredient in Viagra, Pfizer Inc's top selling male potency pill.

They were based in Fuyang, a city in Anhui notorious for selling fakes, including baby milk powder without any nutrition that killed at least 13 babies in 2004.

Pfizer won a Chinese patent for its key ingredient from a Beijing court in June, overturning an earlier rejection of its patent application. Other countries have also refused to acknowledge Pfizer's claim.

The United States and European Union both complain that rampant illegal production in China lies behind counterfeit fashion, movies, films, equipment and medicine surging into global markers.

Washington has brandished threats of taking China's counterfeiting to the World Trade Organisation, the Geneva-based global trade umpire. China says it is cracking down.

Earlier this month, EU trade chief Peter Mandelson urged China to stamp out the piracy of intellectual property, saying its fakes now include birth control pills.

Yesterday, China sentenced a man to life imprisonment for pirating over 30 million movie discs.

source - The Australian News