COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - You see them on convenience store shelves with names like “Rhino” “Black Stallion” and “Libidomax” boasting some big claims, promising male enhancement and better results in the bedroom.
But doctors say there’s a catch, and the FDA is sounding the alarm in a warning published on their website.
Dr. Marc Rogers, a urologist at MUSC in Charleston says with the same active ingredients as prescription drugs like Viagra and Cialis, over the counter male enhancement supplements can be effective, but they’re also incredibly dangerous if they’re not used under a doctor’s care.
“The most common prescription drugs found are called what’s Sildenafil or Tadalafil. Those are the generic brand names for Viagra and Cialis respectively. Depending on interactions with medications men are already taking, it could cause heart attack, stroke- or eventually even death” Dr. Rogers said.
Attorney Robert Tauler is heading up litigation to keep the sex pills off store shelves.
He says many of these products are made in laboratories with little to no oversight, and the products often contain several toxins.
“In fact, a common ingredient is arsenic, and lead. Some contain antidepressants” Tauler said in a video posted to his website supplementlitigation.org.
Many of the products under the FDA warnings are sold at gas stations in Columbia.
At one location, as soon as we explained that we wanted to purchase “Rhino” for this story, the clerk tensed up and told us the distributor was halting future shipments under pressure from the FDA.
The clerk then refused to sell us the supplements and promised to take down the display. We went to two other gas stations and bought the supplements, with no questions asked.
“The retailers are the ones who are on the hook, and it's their responsibility to protect their customers. The selling of prescription drugs without a license is a very serious offense" Tauler said.
But cracking down on their sale is proving to be a difficult task for the FDA, because of the sheer number of products and brands.
“A lot of time, what these companies will do is they have one product," Dr. Rogers explains. "The FDA will shut that company down. They simply take their material, repackage it and rename it under a different company and continue to sell it.”
Tauler agrees, saying: “The FDA is constantly behind the 8-ball. And the industry continues to operate in the shadows, profiting from the dangerous sale of these products.”
Store clerks we spoke to off camera say the pills are popular. Tauler says they're prohibited for good reason.
“The FDA has posted these notices publicly, meaning retailers cannot sell these products any longer," Tauler said. "In no circumstances should you purchase these products.”