Case of Counterfeit Weight-Loss Pills Headed for Colorado Courts

March 2010

Sengyang Zhou of Kunming, Yunnan, China, is expected to be transported to Colorado to be tried for allegedly manufacturing and importing counterfeit weight-loss pills containing dangerous levels of Sibutramine, a prescription drug that can cause high blood pressure, seizures, palpitations, stroke, or heart attack. Zhou has been arrested by federal agents in Hawaii and faces up to 38 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He traveled from China to Hawaii to meet with individuals interested in distributing pills in the United States, including a fake version of the weight-loss drug Alli, which he sold through a dot-com called 2daydietshopping, along with other products. Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, says one man who had been taking Alli switched to a cheaper version sold online by Zhou and began having heart palpitations, numbness in his left arm, severe anxiety, headaches, and profuse sweating and chills. In addition to Sibutramine, Zhou's products allegedly included antidepressants, "potent diuretics" available only by prescription, and other substances illegal in the United States, reports The Denver Post. The FDA had issued warnings on the products, marketed online as Superslim, 2 Day Diet, and Meitzitang. Zhou's alleged accomplice, Qung Ming Hu, has been arrested in Plano, Texas (via The Associated Press). Zhou is being held without bond and is being transferred to Denver; Hu was released and has agreed to appear April 7 in Denver. It is unclear from news reports why the case is being referred to Colorado.