An FDA scientist prepares to test dietary supplements. Source: www.flickr.com/photos/fdaphotos/

Three Los Angeles-based companies, and five individual defendants have proffered guilty pleas on charges that they were making and distributing herbal supplements containing dangerous levels of prescription pharmaceuticals, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reports in a press release.

According to the DOJ, John Seil Lee was purchasing tadalafil powder from China and making pills he sold as herbal supplements requiring no prescription. Lee is alleged to have sold at least $11 million worth of his fake pills across the United States.

NBC Los Angeles reports that one of the companies prosecuted, Contenda Health, admitted to purchasing 1.4 million fake pills from Lee, which they then resold at retail locations all over the United States.

CVS Pharmacy is not taking any chances with misbranded or illicitly manufactured dietary supplements.  According to My Healthy Click, CVS Pharmacy has begun a program called “Tested to be Trusted” on all dietary supplements in their stores. My Healthy Click reports that CVS tested over 1,400 vitamins and supplements from more than 150 brands.  Seven percent of supplements tested failed the test and were pulled from shelves.