UK's Biggest Haul of Counterfeit Drugs Used Sugar as APIs

Apr 15, 2014


French customs seized a stash of 2.4 million fake drugs at the port of Le Havre in late February, making the discovery the European Union's biggest-ever seizure of counterfeit medicine.

The drugs included counterfeit versions of Pfizer's Viagra and Lilly's Cialis, as well as fake aspirin and anti-diarrheal drugs that contained sugar in place of active pharmaceutical ingredients. The shipment had been imported from Belgium and its destination markets are unknown.

Due to the potential embarrassment that comes with purchasing erectile dysfunction drugs, they are among the most commonly counterfeited -- so much so that Pfizer and Lilly have internal staffs of pharmacist detectives working on their global security teams. Because customers expect immediate results from these types of drugs, the fakes often do contain actual APIs, but have also been found to contain additional, potentially life-threatening ingredients.

Read the Reuters press release