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International cooperation Swiss crack down on illegal medicine imports

Over half of the illegal shipments confiscated in 2014 were erectile stimulants


As part of a weeklong international operation, Swiss customs have intercepted 600 packages of medicine being shipped into the country. More than 10% of the packages contained harmful medicines or banned doping agents.

Switzerland joined 114 countries in the “PANGEA VIII” week of action from June 9 to 16 to combat the illegal online trade in medicines. Swiss customs, Swissmedic and Antidoping Switzerland were involved in the combing operations which resulted in 600 packages containing medicines being checked. Amphetamines, anabolic steroids, banned slimming pills and illegal erectile stimulants were discovered in the postal system. 

A total of 56 packages were found to contain harmful medicines and ten packages revealed the presence of banned doping agents. The intended recepients in Switzerland received a warning letter with information on the health risks posed by these drugs. 

The illegal drug haul was smaller than last year. A processing cost of CHF300 ($327) for those caught importing drugs illegally was thought to be a factor. 

Swissmedic reported the illegal drug exporters to authorities in the countries concerned. Swiss companies that host the websites of the illegal dealers have also been asked to withdraw their domain names. Overall, the weeklong international PANGEA VIII effort resulted in 149,623 suspicious packages being intercepted of which 50,068 were confiscated.  As part of the fight against online vendors, 2414 illegal websites were ordered to be shut down.

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