Swiss seizures of illegal medicines dip in 2015

Swissmedic logoLast year, Swiss customs reported 1,134 cases of illegally imported medicinal products to Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products.

The 2015 tally is a 7 per cent reduction on the previous year, with more than half (51 per cent) of the seizures illegal erectile dysfunction therapies. Other commonly encountered illegal shipments included sleeping pills/tranquilisers (15 per cent) and slimming products (13 per cent).

"More sleeping tablets and tranquillisers are being obtained illegally, while imports of slimming preparations declined during 2014 and 2015 compared to previous years," said Swissmedic.

The medicinal products confiscated by Swiss customs last year had been sent from 62 different countries. Two thirds of all seized shipments originated in Asian countries, including over 40 per cent from India.
"Potentially dangerous active substances that are either incorrectly declared or not declared at all represent a growing problem," said Swissmedic, pointing to an increase number of incidents involving hidden narcotics.

Examples include weight-loss capsules purchased on the website of 'The Diennet Institute' which on testing were found to contain the undeclared narcotic substances amfepramone - an appetite suppressant - and the tranquiliser diazepam.

Amfepramone is no longer authorised in Switzerland and can cause severe cardiovascular problems, while the prolonged uncontrolled use of diazepam without medical supervision can lead to dependence.

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