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Swiss to join fight against internet drugs

Switzerland is to sign the Medicrime convention aimed combating the international criminal trade in counterfeit medicines.

The government said on Friday that it had approved the convention drawn up by the Council of Europe. The council’s Committee of Ministers has not yet set the date when the convention will be open for signatures, but it will be before the end of 2011.

The counterfeiting of medicines and the use of defective material for medical products – such as prostheses and implants – are a serious danger  to public health, according to a government statement.

“The emergence of internet trading has enabled pharmaceutical crime to spread across borders, making it much harder for the relevant authorities to track down those responsible and take action against them,” it says.

The Medicrime convention should make international cooperation easier when combating such crime.

It will come into force as soon as it has been signed by five states, including three which belong to the Council of Europe, as Switzerland does.

Earlier this week Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, issued a warning about slimming products bought over the internet. It said nearly 90 per cent of the items seized by customs officials and tested in 2010 contained substances known to be dangerous. In some cases the doses were large enough to be life-threatening.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR