Counterfeit medicines – Dirty things at the expense of our health


Product pirates continue to sail through the Internet with a lot of tailwind and skim off their criminal profits here too – especially with counterfeit medicines. However, taking it can have serious health consequences.

If the fine handbag, the exclusive belt or the top football boots are sold for an unbelievable bargain price, then as a consumer you are – consciously or unconsciously – dealing with product pirates. They ship counterfeit branded goods in large quantities all over the world and make a lot of money – it’s a multi-billion dollar business.

Last year, 830,000 medicines were seized
Austria is also considered a lucrative market, as evidenced by the Ministry of Finance’s current product piracy report from last year. The development with regard to counterfeit and illegal medicines is particularly worrying. In the previous year alone, more than 830,000 medicines (!) were withdrawn from circulation by the domestic customs, some of which turned out to be counterfeit or even banned in Austria.

Power drugs are particularly popular, including the Indian product “Kamagra”, which is not approved in the EU. At the beginning of December, the customs team and the agent were able to stop a three-tonne freight shipment at Vienna Airport.

Apart from the fact that consumers find themselves on a legal slippery slope when purchasing some products, the use of counterfeit medicines also has serious consequences for health (see also interview below). Wrong doses or contamination can even be fatal. In the best case, the effect is zero. Apropos: 16,000 tablets of the FPÖ Corona “miracle” horse dewormer Ivermectin were discovered in various postal distribution centers.

Plus 150% on counterfeit drugs
And yet: in this sensitive area, customs registered no less than 150 (!) percent. “Consumers’ lives are seriously threatened by substandard counterfeit goods, especially in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. We cannot and do not want to stand by and watch,” said Treasury Secretary Magnus Brunner. “The report on product piracy shows once again how important the work of local customs officials – and their four-legged colleagues – is in this area as well.”

When ordering toys online, parents should also think twice. Last year, the authority seized 1,400 counterfeits, some of which were harmful to the environment and health. Most of the goods came from China.

Dangerous toys from the Middle Kingdom
Most counterfeits are shipped from the Middle Kingdom, explains product piracy expert Gerhard Marosi. Turkey and Hong Kong follow. It is usually difficult to find out where the plagiarism was actually made.

To camouflage their hot goods, the smugglers often act brutally. Last year, for example, counterfeits were declared perfidious as aid deliveries to war-torn Ukraine.

Source: Krone


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