Drug giant Pfizer has started a legal campaign against spammers and online pharmacies pushing fake Viagra.
The campaign will try to seize domains selling fake pills and stop spammers sending messages offering the drug.
The pharmaceutical firm began the campaign after survey results showed that many people believe Pfizer is the source of spam offering Viagra.
Alongside the legal challenge goes a project to warn people about the dangers of popping fake Viagra pills. Many of the junk messages sent by spammers offer Viagra or so-called generic versions of the pill that supposedly offer the same help with erectile dysfunction that the original drug was created to treat. The name "Viagra" has become so associated with spam that any junk mailer wanting to use the word has to obfuscate it with non-alphanumeric characters to help the messages slip past spam filters. Pfizer is now suing websites that illegally use the Viagra name to market the generic versions and to block the sales of these drugs. It is also going after spammers that send out millions of messages offering the drug.
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Original URL, circa 2004: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3538078.stm