Microsoft and Pfizer court Viagra spammers

Microsoft has teamed up with Viagra-maker Pfizer to launch 17 lawsuits against spammers and Web site owners that are allegedly selling 'dangerous' prescription drugs.According to Microsoft, the illegal medicine distributors have sent "hundreds of millions" of spam messages to Hotmail customers using techniques that violate the US Can-Spam Act of 2003.

Microsoft has teamed up with Viagra-maker Pfizer to launch 17 lawsuits against spammers and Web site owners that are allegedly selling 'dangerous' prescription drugs.

According to Microsoft, the illegal medicine distributors have sent "hundreds of millions" of spam messages to Hotmail customers using techniques that violate the US Can-Spam Act of 2003.

Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft, said that the joint Pfizer and Microsoft action is a 'wake-up call' to illegal internet traders. "At Microsoft we are combating this problem in every way we can, including with legal action, to help ensure that our consumers are protected from fraud," said Smith.

Jeff Kindler, executive vice president and general counsel at Pfizer said the action was necessary to protect the general public from the health risks associated with fake, illegal and unapproved products that claim to be Viagra.

"Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people's inboxes," said Kindler.

Microsoft estimates that adverts for male fertility drugs account for around one in four spam e-mails. The company explained in a statement that much of this spam is used to direct potential customers to one of a dozen identical Web sites that have been registered using stolen identities.

The drug orders that apparently received in New York and sent for processing in India via a call centre in Canada. Once processed the order are then delivered by a US-based air freight company.

The law suits are targeting online pharmacies -- DiscountRX, Virtual RX and EzyDrugStore.com - as well as the real owners of certain domain names including half-priceviagra.com, cheapviagrastore.com, viagra.com.ua, freeviagraclub.com, freegenericviagra.com, viagrastories.com, shopviagra.com, cheap-on-line-viagra.com, viagrarecords.com and bioviagra.com.

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