Swiss seize one million fake Xanax pills


Ecstasy seizure In Los Angeles in 2009.


US Customs

Swiss customs agents have seized one million fake Xanax pills at Zurich airport.

The shipment, which was being transported in four crates weighing over 400kg (880 pounds), was on its way to Egypt from China.

Tests showed that the tablets — fake versions of a drug manufactured by Pfizer to treat severe anxiety or panic disorder — contained no active ingredients.

"Analyses in the Swissmedic laboratory revealed that the drugs, which are prescribed to treat symptoms of acute anxiety, contained no active ingredients whatsoever," Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, said in a statement.

"According to experts, the drugs would be unrecognizable as counterfeits at a first glance."

More from GlobalPost: Pfizer to sell Viagra online

Developing countries, like Egypt, are a major market for the multi-billion dollar counterfeit-drug trade.

The World Health Organization said many parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America have areas where more than 30 percent of medications on sale — ranging from painkillers to treatments for life-threatening illnesses — are fake.

Counterfeit medicines, also often sold online, sometimes contain the wrong dose of active ingredients or toxic substances, like rat poison.