Dutch sniffer dog helps Finns fight fakes

Springer the sniffer dogA Dutch sniffer dog has been sent on assignment in Finland to assist in a crackdown on counterfeit medicines ordered over the Internet and imported in the mail.

Springer has been specially trained by specialist company Het Twickelerveld to identify not only narcotics, but also widely-counterfeited medicines such as the erectile dysfunction treatments Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, and will be put through his paces in a week-long operation by Finnish customs.  Genuine medicines sent by mail will be examined and sent on its way, but counterfeits will be intercepted.

"Het Twickelerveld European detection dog service trained the dog for Pfizer, which who lent the dogs to the Finnish customs and paid for the trip," the company's managing director Martin Lipsius told

Last year, a survey sponsored by Pfizer found that one in five Europeans had bought prescription-only medicines from illicit sources, mainly over the Internet. Finns fared slightly better than the European average, but the survey still found that 12 per cent of them had bought drugs online without a prescription (see EU illicit trade in medicines could top €10.5bn, says survey).

According to the Finnish government, it is estimated that around €44m-worth of fake medication is bought every year by its citizens and the vast majority of it is sent into the country via air mail.

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