Diet pills laced with amphetamines smuggled from Brazil

Man suspected of being involved, a new immigrant from Brazil, and his wife, are held for an investigation and then released on bail.

October 26, 2011 03:12
1 minute read.
Medicine [illustrative]

Medicine pills drugs prescription 311. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

Over 30 packages of counterfeit diet pills – which actually contained the active ingredients in the anti-depressant Prozac, Valium and an amphetamine – were seized in Jerusalem by the Israel Police with help from the Health Ministry’s pharmaceutical crime unit on Monday.

The man suspected of being involved, a new immigrant from Brazil, and his wife, were held for an investigation and then released on bail. The suspect admitted selling the product and that the pills were smuggled in from his native country.

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TA pharmacy’s preparations may be dangerous

A few months ago, the ministry unit received information that a woman in Jerusalem was selling apparently counterfeit diet pills, and that Jews in the haredi community were her main customers. The unit staff managed to find the woman and her husband.

A staffer at the ministry office purchased a package with 40 capsules after being assured by the person who sold them that it was a “natural diet drug.”

But when they were tested in the lab, they were found to contain no known weightloss medication. Instead, they had drugs that separately and together could cause “serious danger to health,” the ministry said. The components were fluoxetine, diazepam and fenproporex.

Because of the seriousness of the case, the information was sent to the Jerusalem police, and an undercover investigation was conducted. A staffer from the ministry contacted the suspect and ordered three packages of “diet pills.”

When the man arrived to make the detail, he was immediately arrested by police. When his apartment was searched, more than 30 more packages were found. They were seized along with documents, checkbooks, laptop computers and a list of customers.

The ministry and the police are looking into reports that people who took the pills suffered damage to their health and may even have been hospitalized as a result.

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