Taiwan cracks down on fake medicine trade

Flag of TaiwanEnforcement agencies in Taiwan have detained 168 suspects in a large-scale operation to fight the trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals and traditional herbal medicines.

More than 1,200 agents from the police, coast guard the Department of Health and other agencies took part in the operation, which was coordinated by Taiwan's High Prosecutors Office, which issued a statement providing details on September 23. The agents raided 28 separate locations across the country.

Various counterfeit and illegal medicines were seized, including erectile dysfunction drugs and products for weight loss and other indications, as well as herbal remedies which turned out to be laced with pharmacologically-active compounds and fake cosmetics.

Pharmaceuticals uncovered in the raids included Pfizer's ED drug Viagra (sildenafil) and an amphetamine-based product called clobenzorex used as an appetite suppressant.

Meanwhile production facilities were raided and shut down. One location in the Taoyuan area for instance was found to house a major counterfeit medicines plant, including a large body of pharmaceutical production equipment

A report in the China Post newspaper suggested that the profit from the sale of the goods could amount to "several billion" Taiwanese dollars, equivalent to hundreds of millions of US dollars. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese citizens could have been exposed to the illegal medicines.


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