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Customs seize fake pharmaceuticals from China

Customs seize fake pharmaceuticals from China

TAIPEI: Customs authorities recently confiscated a package of drugs from China containing two banned pharmaceutical products disguised as a Japanese brand of capsules for constipation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday.

The medicine looks almost the same as the genuine product, but contains a combination of banned sibutramine and phenolphthalein, which are carcinogenic and could be fatal to humans, said FDA official Tai Hsueh-yung (戴雪詠).

Sibutramine is the active ingredient in Reductil, a weight-loss drug that was banned because it increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death, while phenolphthalein is an ingredient once found in over-the-counter laxatives until it was labeled as a potential carcinogen.

Noting that most anti-obesity drugs and aphrodisiacs contain banned ingredients that may increase the risk of health problems, Tai said that after tests, the FDA found that 16 samples collected from suspicious Viagra products that were seized by customs, police and health authorities from last year to the end of May this year were all counterfeit.

The packaging of these Viagra products resemble the genuine ones, but were found to contain the carcinogen 2-mercaptobenzothiazole as well as chloramphenicol and sulpyrine that may cause anemia.

The FDA urged the public not to display or sell medicines they bring from abroad to avoid violation of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.