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Inside Pfizer's Fight Against Counterfeit Drugs

Pfizer has staff detectives to help ensure your Viagra is real—and not made of brick dust
Inside Pfizer's Fight Against Counterfeit Drugs
Photograph by Grant Cornett for Bloomberg Businessweek

In the spring of 2011 an undercover agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security placed an order for some discount Viagra on hardtofindrx.com. The site promises low prices and fast delivery on drugs such as Klonopin and Valium, no prescription needed. About two weeks later, according to court documents, he got a package containing 67 blue, diamond-shaped pills. The return address read: B. Green, High Point, N.C.

Was it real? The best way for a federal agent to find out is to send it to Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company and the maker of Viagra. When the package arrived at Pfizer’s research and development campus in Groton, Conn., Brian Donnelly got to work.