Coronavirus: the FAMHP seizes postal packages containing counterfeit and other illegal medicinal products against COVID-19

date: 25/03/2020

Criminal organisations are using the coronavirus pandemic to sell counterfeit medicinal products and other illegal medicinal products. The FAMHP asks patients to be prudent and be careful of internet deals.

The FAMHP is observing an increase in the number of parcels containing illegal medicinal products against COVID-19. These are false medicinal products, counterfeits or other illegal medicinal products whose quality, safety and effectiveness have not been proven and which therefore represent a significant health risk.

Checks on seizures

In checks performed on 24 and 25 March 2020, 99 parcels were seized. The remarkable thing about these seizures is the increase in the number of antimalarial and antiviral medicinal products. They represented 20 % of the parcels. Consignments of illegal Chinese medicines against cold and flu, as well as preparations based on paracetamol, were also seized. The illegal medicinal products were sent from India, China, Colombia and Russia.

Trend since the start of March 2020

The FAMHP inspection and checking services have seen an upward trend in activity since the beginning of March 2020. 6 790 chloroquine tablets (or their derivatives) have already been seized this month.

Over 23 000 medicinal products and illegal products were seized in Belgium in early March 2020 as part of operation PANGEA XIII. PANGEA is an annual international operation directed by Interpol. In contrast to other years, illegal chloroquine tablets have also been discovered this year. Across the world, over four million medicinal products were seized in early March 2020 and 121 people were arrested.

Do not buy medicinal or other products on illegal websites 

Illegal and counterfeit medicinal products are very risky. There are no guarantees regarding their quality, their safety and their effectiveness. Illegal medicinal products can contain toxic substances or quantities of active pharmaceutical ingredients that are too high or too low and therefore cause serious health problems.

Only buy medicinal products from online pharmacies displaying the European logo. Click on the logo and check that the seller is registered. 

Last updated on 31/03/2020