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City gateway for fake drugs

An ever-increasing number of online bogus pharmaceuticals — includingViagra and Cialis — are getting a rise out of border agents who havethe stiff task of sorting through 30 million packages a year.

An ever-increasing number of online bogus pharmaceuticals — including Viagra and Cialis — are getting a rise out of border agents who have the stiff task of sorting through 30 million packages a year.

In the past six months, officers in Vancouver have intercepted 15,000 parcels containing fraudulent prescription drugs, painkillers and health products, the Canada Border Services Agency said.

Consumers, who are looking for deals, purchase the drugs and supplements from legitimate-looking websites that purport to be Canadian.

In many cases, the sites are run by organized-crime groups and based in Europe.

The bogus pills, which are often indistinguishable from the real thing, are shipped into Vancouver, primarily from China, to addresses all over Canada.

And while importing pharmaceuticals is illegal in itself, the real danger, said RCMP Sgt. Duncan Pound, is that the pills are not what they claim to be.

“You have no idea of what is in the product or how it will affect you,” Pound said. “It is playing Russian roulette with your health.”

Among the fraudulent products arriving in great amounts, said Heather Ardiel, operations chief for the CBSA’s international mail centre in Vancouver, is an Acai berry supplement that contains undisclosed sildenafil, or?Viagra.

 
 
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