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Swiss police seize large amount of illegal erectile stimulants

Fake viagra
Fake medicines may have similar packaging to the real product, but often contain harmful substances. Keystone / Stephanie Pilick

The Swiss authorities confiscated 346 packages of illegal medicaments, most of them fake erectile stimulants, as part of a global crackdown last month.

Investigators also uncovered 120 illegal foreign websites selling the fake medicines under a Swiss brand as part of the PANGEA XIV campaign between May 18 and 25, the Swiss authorities said on TuesdayExternal link.

Switzerland was one of 55 countries that took part in the coordinated operation, which was carried out for the 14th year.

Previous actions had resulted in Singapore being closed down as a transit country. This year, criminal gangs operating internet sites mainly in southeast Asia, India and Ukraine had typically diverted shipments to Switzerland via Germany and Poland.

The Swiss medicaments regulator Swissmedic, along with customs and Antidoping Switzerland, found around half of the 695 shipments examined at the Zurich-Mülligen postal sorting office to contain illegal medicines or doping products.

Nine out of ten confiscated packages contained fake erectile stimulants – rip-offs of Viagra and Cialis – many of which had arrived from Ukraine. Several cantons have now initiated criminal proceedings.

“These illegally traded products constitute a premeditated threat to patients’ health,” the Swiss authorities said. “They contain either none of the declared active substance or else less than the amount stated. In an attempt to foil simple tests, some of them contain active substances in smaller amounts than those stated.”

The global operation seized some nine million packages and closed down 113,000 illegal websites.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR