Fake sex drugs create a big workload for prosecutors

Updated: 2016-01-08 07:56

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai(China Daily)

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Ingredients often 'unclear', prosecutor says, and may include chemicals harmful to health

Sexual arousal drugs accounted for 90 percent of the cases addressed by prosecutors in Shanghai during a 10-month campaign last year against bogus medicines.

A total of 178 cases involving food and drug safety were investigated in the crackdown from March to December, and 221 suspects were identified. The caseload was up 30 percent from the same period in the previous year, officials from the Shanghai People's Procuratorate said at a media briefing on Thursday.

Prosecutors said the Internet is the main channel for distribution of counterfeit drugs that promise to boost sexual desire. Many of the pills use a combination of medicinal powder and ordinary flour, and are very inexpensive, they said.

Shanghai Pudong New Area prosecutors looked into a case in which two suspects, surnamed Yan and Chen, opened an online store in October 2014 and sold male impotence drugs that had been imported from abroad but were not approved. The suspects did not obtain a certificate of registration for the drugs, and the pills were identified as bogus.

The two men were arrested on suspicion of selling fake medicine in September. The case is currently being reviewed.

Such cases have cropped up in other places. For example, Shenzhen Evening News reported in December 2014 that police had broken up a factory making libido boosters in rural Maoming city, Guangdong province, and caught 11 suspects.

The group had sold the fake pills to 100 online and physical stores all over the country to the tune of more than 100 million yuan ($15 million). It cost less than 1 yuan for each pill, but they sold for as high as 100 yuan to consumers.

"Such bogus drugs are unclear in their ingredients, which may include a variety of chemical agents to achieve a certain desired effect. Long-term use may harm health," said Zou Xianfeng, a Shanghai prosecutor.

The number of food safety cases has remained high in recent years, said Zhou Yongnian, deputy chief prosecutor of the procuratorate, the most eye-catching one being the Shanghai and Hebei branches of Husi Food Co, a former supplier to McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants. A subsidiary of US-based global food processor OSI Group, it was exposed supplying sub-standard products to the food chains across the country.

"A two-day hearing was completed a week ago, but a verdict has not been announced yet," Zhou said.