German pharmacies accused of peddling illegal medication | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 09.08.2010
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German pharmacies accused of peddling illegal medication

Investigators in northern Germany are reportedly looking into allegations that up to 100 pharmacies in the region are buying and selling illegal ingredients to make antibiotics, painkillers and cancer treatment drugs.

A pile of white pills

Many Germans may have been taking drugs made illegally

A host of chemists in northern German cities have been accused of retailing illegal medication, according to media reports over the weekend.

The allegations made by German public broadcaster NDR against around 100 pharmacies are being looked into by the public prosecutors in Hamburg, Celle, Verden, Kiel and Braunschweig.

It's believed chemists illegally purchased chemical substances that are not available inside Germany for lower prices on the gray market. They then mix these with substances to produce medications at a lower cost for diseases such as cancer.

The chemists then claim the substances with German health insurance companies at the inflated German price. It's thought that the illegal medications include antibiotics, painkillers and even cancer treatment drugs.

The Braunschweig public prosecutor has reportedly already brought charges against one pharmacy, which it suspects of wrongfully claiming up to 1.7 million euros ($2.26 million) of medication.

Investigators are reportedly relying on the testimony of a former wholesaler of illegal medications who wanted to leave the industry.

Author: Darren Mara (dpa/AP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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