Polish police uncover 'world's largest' fake drug factory

The authorities in Poland have shut down a factory near the city of Bydgoszcz capable of making millions of counterfeit medicines.

Some 100,000 counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills were seized along with 430,000 vials of steroids worth an estimated 17m zlotys ($4.4m). It is thought that the factory would have distributed counterfeits worth "at least tens of millions of zlotys."

Poland's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBSP) said in a statement (in Polish) that the illicit unit - which contained 48 machines used for manufacturing, packing and printing boxes and labels - is thought to be largest illegal pharmaceutical factory ever discovered by enforcement agencies.

The seized equipment made up an entire pharma production line, and included mixers, tablet presses, coaters, blister packaging machines, cartoners and screen printers, amongst other items.

Police made 14 arrests in connection with the operations of the factory, which according to the CBSP was being run by an organised crime network. The raid at the property, which marked the culmination of an investigation lasting several months, uncovered an extensive network of hidden rooms which housed the equipment.

A complex supply chain that involved finished and semi-finished products imported from China - and also saw drugs shipped through Greece, Romania and the UK - was uncovered in the operation. The counterfeits were mainly sold over the Internet.

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