Software giant Microsoft and the world's biggest drug company Pfizer are getting into bed together to combat an internet Viagra spam ring.
Microsoft and Pfizer to get tough on fakes
The two are filing 17 parallel lawsuits against two "international pharmacy spam rings" selling what they claim are generic versions of Viagra online.
Pfizer said two websites named in the suit sold "potentially dangerous medications" unapproved by regulators.
The websites involved are CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct.
In addition, Microsoft has filed three suits against web spammers who promote online drug stores, such as Discount RX, Virtual RX and EzeDrugStore.com.
"Together, these pharmacy spam rings have allegedly sent hundreds of millions of e-mail messages to Microsoft's MSN Hotmail customers within the past year alone," the joint statement said.
Deceptive advertising via e-mail violated the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, they said.
Pfizer said it was committed to protecting the public from risks associated with "the illegal sale of fake and unapproved generic products claiming to be Viagra".
The actions follow a seven-month probe by the two companies into the sale of the erectile dysfunction tablets.
Computers in New York received online orders which were then sent to a call centre based in Canada before being processed in India, the lawsuit claims.
The pills were then shipped from India to the US and delivered by an air freight company based in the US.