Illegal imports of medicines continue to rise

The number of illegal shipments of medicines seized by Swiss customs authorities jumped by 61 per cent in 2010, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) has reported.

This content was published on February 4, 2011 - 11:31 and agencies

In total, 1,861 shipments of illegal medicines were confiscated, up from 1,154 reported in 2009 and from 687 in 2008.

Nearly half, 45 per cent, of shipments came directly from India, while many of the 35 per cent of shipments which arrived from Western Europe contained products manufactured in India.

Most commonly imported products included erectile stimulants (33 per cent) and slimming products (19 per cent). Nine per cent of illegal medicines imported were bought for body building.

Swissmedic said in a statement that around half the products delivered contained serious quality defects, while almost all lacked packaging and information on prescribed dosage.

In 1,735 cases last year, Swissmedic launched legal proceedings leading to financial penalties. The organisation said internet-based distributors often misled potential customers into believing orders would not be subject to customs controls.

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