Customs officers in New Zealand recently seized more than 400 packages that were suspected of containing counterfeit drugs as part of an international, week-long effort to crack down on the sale of fake medicines from online pharmacies.
According to Stuff.co.nz, 34 of the parcels seized by the country's Medsafe organization were confiscated because they either were not labeled, could not be identified or because their contents contained hidden or undeclared ingredients.
The seized packages reportedly came from 35 countries around the world, including Romania, Taiwan and Sri Lanka.
Derek Fitzgerald, manager of Medsafe's compliance management branch, said that drugs purchased from online pharmacies can be dangerous.
"Medicines obtained from these sources are likely not to have been assessed and approved by Medsafe or by any other reputable authority," he told the news source. "We strongly discourage the practice of self-diagnosis and self-medicating for conditions requiring treatment with medicines only available after consultation with a healthcare professional."
The counterfeit drugs seized in the operation purported to treat such maladies as heart disease, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, asthma and weight loss.