Warnings issued about online drugs

The RCMP is warning people not to buy prescription drugs like Viagra online because they could not only be fake, but dangerous to your health.

The RCMP is warning people not to buy prescription drugs like Viagra online because they could not only be fake, but dangerous to your health.

Thousands of parcels with phoney drugs have been intercepted at Vancouver's international mail centre over the past six months, according to Sgt. Duncan Pound, media relations officer for the RCMP's Federal Border Integrity Program.

Organized crime is behind many of the false products hawked over the internet, from Viagra to phoney swine flu treatments, Pound told a Vancouver news conference Thursday.

He warned that not only is it illegal to import prescription drugs into Canada, but buying such products is like playing Russian roulette.

Bogus acai berry seized

"Don't get products that are unauthorized, that you don't know what's in them. You're risking your health by ingesting them," Pound said.

One popular import by online buyers is a purported dietary supplement claiming to contain acai berry, which marketers claim can do everything from helping people lose weight to improving their sex life.

The samples coming in have been tested and contain potentially hazardous ingredients, said Heather Ardiel, the Canada Border Services Agency's chief of operations.

"Since July this year, we have referred to Health Canada over 15,000 packages of this product," Ardiel said.

Ardiel noted that legal products ordered online that have been tested and found to be legitimate are returned to the mail system, to be delivered to the people who purchased them.

With files from The Canadian Press