The RCMP has dismantled a counterfeit prescription drug ring in the Montreal area.

On Thursday, police ended an 18-month investigation by raiding 11 locations, including sex shops, homes and other locations around the city, and seizing 15,000 pills.

They arrested nine people who could be charged with fraud, trademark infringement, conspiracy, and distribution of materials protected by copyright, but that investigation is still ongoing.

The mounties say the fake Viagra, Cialis and other pills look legitimate, and some actually contain medicinal ingredients, but there is no certainty that they are actually safe.

RCMP officer Noel St-Hilaire says the counterfeit drug crackdown is the first of its kind in Quebec.

"For Canada it's fairly new. It's a growing trend," said St-Hilaire. "We've seen it in other countries. It's coming into Canada now."

The pills were being sold at raves, sex shops, and on the street by individuals, and over the internet.

Online danger

Health Canada has issued a warning about the dangers of buying prescription drugs online.

According to Sylvia Cantin, anyone buying online from another country is putting themselves at risk.

"Those are dangerous as a starting point because the consumer has absolutely no information, no assurance of safety in how the product is made, what's in it," said Cantin. "There may be more of the ingredient which can be very dangerous. The could be no medication at all which is a different danger."

The agency says that it is possible to buy legitimate medication online, but that it is necessary people use a prescription.

Any website that fails to boast a legitimate address and phone number is almost certainly a purveyor of phony pills.