LA City Attorney cracks down on illegal pharmaceutical drug sales

- The operators of a Pacoima store are the subject of a lawsuit brought Monday by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office for allegedly selling illegal or mislabeled pharmaceuticals.

Ducleria El Venado is run by Narcisco and Johana Gamez, although neither is licensed to sell pharmaceuticals nor is the business a pharmacy, according to City Attorney Mike Feuer. "We are not only trying to hold accountable the individuals we allege engaged in what we have set forth today, but we are trying to send a very
strong message out to consumers of medications," Feuer said. "Please turn to a licensed pharmacist so you know what you are getting, because the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals worldwide has caused significant issues.''

Narcisco and Johana Gamez could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the lawsuit, some of the drugs sold at their store were counterfeit or misbranded, while others were controlled substances the pair could not legally sell or which cannot be sold in the United States under any circumstances.

Feuer said he did not know if any customers were harmed by taking the alleged counterfeit drugs.

The lawsuit was the result of an investigation conducted by the Health Authority Law Enforcement Taskforce, or HALT, which includes the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles Police Department and county Department of Health Services.

The lawsuit calls for the permanent termination of the lease at the business, which is still open, and seeks an injunction prohibiting the defendants from continuing to illegally sell or manufacture any pharmaceutical products.

The defendants could face up to $2,500 in penalties for each alleged violation, Feuer said.

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