A large number of drugs illegally imported into Switzerland have been found to have been shipped from India, including drugs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, as well as erection enhancers, a Swiss government agency said on Monday.
The Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) said in its annual update that together with customs authorities it seized 9,421 packs of illegally imported medicines in 2021, which was significantly more than 6,733 such packs in 2020.
The majority of the confiscated products were sexual enhancers and accounted for around 77 percent of the confiscated packs. Other confiscated preparations were prescription drugs such as hormones and anti-inflammatory drugs (17 percent) or sleeping pills and tranquilizers (5 percent).
Around 150 of the confiscated packages were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These contained banned amounts of prescription drugs, including ivermectin antiparasitics, hydroxychloroquine drugs and antibiotics from India.
According to Swissmedic, Poland has overtaken the countries of Asia and is the first European country to top the list of countries of origin.
However, the confiscated packs of sexual enhancers from Poland were exclusively sexual enhancers manufactured in India. Swissmedic suspects that new illegal distribution channels have been set up after the authorities successfully shut down the transit route via Singapore in October 2020 as part of an internationally coordinated operation.
India directly accounted for 12 percent of all parcels seized, up from 20 percent in 2022 and 43 percent in 2019.
“Half of the preparations sold illegally do not contain what they are supposed to contain! Taking medicines that were ordered without a prescription or with a sham online prescription is hazardous to your health,” said Swissmedic.
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