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Nationwide crackdown nets 168 suspects selling fake drugs

The China Post news staff--As many as 168 suspects selling fake were detained for making and selling fake pharmaceuticals or traditional herbal medicines as of last evening in the latest nationwide crackdown aimed at safeguarding people's health.

The sweeping operations were conducted by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office.

There were also large amounts of the fake and counterfeit medical products as well as banned products confiscated.

The illegal profits made by the suspects could reach several billions of New Taiwan dollars over the years, although the final tallies were not in yet.

Prosecutors coordinated more than 1,200 law enforcement agents from 115 units of the Investigation Bureau, city and county police departments, Coast Guard branches, and the judicial police force to raid 238 locations across the nation to arrest the suspects and seize the fake products in the past two days.

The suspects had offered fake pharmaceutical products disguised as items from legitimate suppliers or as health food products at selected stores and on the Internet.

Their products also included weight-loss drugs prohibited by regulations and fake aphrodisiacs or medical treatments, including counterfeit Viagra pills.

Even health tea products and traditional Chinese herbal medicines were tampered with by adding illicit chemical substances which are banned by the law.

There were also illegitimate medical products purchased by the suspects via websites from abroad for resale in Taiwan for huge financial gains.

Prosecutors said hundreds of thousands of people in Taiwan could have been coaxed into using the products that actually pose great hazards to their health.

Many illegal operators had used commercials at underground radio stations, especially in central and southern parts of Taiwan, to entice senior and lonely citizens into buying their illegal products.

Police in Taipei confiscated more than 50,000 fake aphrodisiac pills which the suspects claimed to have the effects of rejuvenating youth for users.

The cost of the pills with exaggerated effects in the case stood at only NT$40 each but the products were sold for as much as NT$800, twenty times their actual value.

The products confiscated on Bade Road carry the labels showing a nonexistent company as the manufacturer.

In Taoyuan County, police seized more than 100 kilograms of fake Chinese herbal medicines concocted at a dilapidated steel factory covered only by steel plates.

The operator confessed that he had supplied the medicines with banned chemical elements to pharmacies around Taiwan for many years.

Prosecutors in Taichung coordinated with law enforcement agents in several counties throughout central Taiwan for joint raids on illegal operations at 28 locations. About 30 suspects were arrested during the investigation.

In southern Tainan, close to 10,000 bottles of fake drugs purported to help users slim down plus other categories of pharmaceuticals were confiscated in one case.

Manufacturers and retailers said they had worked together to illegally import the prohibited materials from abroad for many years.

Police, led by prosecutors in Kaohsiung, reported the uncovering of illegal drug-selling networks and the detention of a dozen of suspects in several districts.

Prosecutors said the crackdown operations will continue. They encouraged people in Taiwan to report suspicious manufacturing operations and questionable drug products in their neighborhoods to the authorities to help protect the health of their families and friends.

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