MONTREAL — Alain Elmaleh, who operates the X-Citement Video retail chain in Canada, faces a court hearing on July 3 over charges involving the importation of penis pills containing various amounts of tadalafil, the active ingredient used in the prescription drug Cialis.
Elmaleh and associate Alain Richer face 37 charges under the Customs Act and the Food and Drug Act after officials seized 130,000 pills in a commercial shipment in 2011 and another 120,000 tablets last year.
Both shipments' originations were from China.
The first batch was found at Montreal-Trudeau Airport, where authorities seized the shipments, and the second was found at Elmaleh's main office.
Authorities, according to the Montreal Gazette, said the products weren't actually counterfeit versions of common brands but were unique and unauthorized products that had not been approved by Health Canada.
"They didn't look like other, legitimate drugs," said Dominique McNeely of the Canada Border Services Agency. "They had very evocative names ... that left no doubt to the customer as what they might be used for."
Elmaleh, who owns X-Citement as well as retailer Pleasures 'n' Treasures and KayTel Video, told XBIZ on Friday that it simply is the case that the wholesaler that sent the shipments didn't list a sixth ingredient in the batches.
"We had no way of knowing this," Elmaleh said. "The pills [shipped in bulk without packaging] we ordered were to have five ingredients, not including a sixth ingredient."
Neither Elmaleh or Richer were arrested or subject to arrest warrants, but Elmaleh said that they would plead not guilty when trial comes around next month. He said that they've already paid $6,000 in fines to customs authorities over the two shipments.
Elmaleh, who has disseminated his own press release over the charges, said that the media attention has been overblown.
"This is a two-year-old story about pills stuck at customs," he said. "There was nothing provided to me by suppliers to know that they contained the regulated substances mentioned by the [Canada Border Services Agency]."