By Oisin Sweeney • 22 January 2021 • 9:12
The police found 2000 pills in supermarkets across Rome and Tuscany - Image Source: Carabinieri
ITALIAN police in Rome and Tuscany have seized a large haul of fake Chinese Covid medicine.
The pills claimed to treat Covid-19 symptoms and were sold in five Chinese supermarkets and herbal stores – four in the capital Rome and another in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence.
The Carabinieri says the force has seized 437 boxes amounting to about 2000 unlicensed and illegal pills. The bogus pharmaceuticals originated in China and were sold by businesses that had no permission to prescribe or sell medicine.
A number of business owners targetted in the bust will be probed by Italy’s Public Prosecutor’s office for running unlicensed pharmacies, alongside charges of importing and selling unauthorised medicine.
The pills were seized under the authorisation of the Italian (AIFA) and EU (EMA) health bodies due to doubts about their efficacy and potential negative side effects. During the pandemic, many such scam medicines have hit the market as unscrupulous businesses attempt to profit from the virus.
The operation was carried out by officers from Carabinieri NAS in Rome, in collaboration with the Nucleo Carabinieri AIFA, the Carabinieri NAS of Florence and the local police in Prato. Although Italy’s criminal world is dominated by indigenous mafia groups, Chinese criminal groups reportedly operate across the country and often specialise in illegal imports.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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