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February 15, 2011

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12 arrests as city cracks down on sex drug gang

THE city's drug watchdog has joined forces with police to take on a gang manufacturing dangerous illegal sex drugs.

So far, Shanghai Food and Drug Administration and Luwan District Police have detained 12 alleged gang members and seized about 150 varieties of sex drugs.

This comes as officials seek to get tough with vendors by using intellectual property rights legislation. Previously, powers have been limited as hawkers argue they are selling a health product, not a drug.

The gang, which has been running its operation from Shanghai, with facilities in Guangdong and Hebei provinces, produces copies of Viagra containing twice as much of its core ingredient than the official product.

Experts have warned that this could be fatal to users.

Officers, who are still pursuing gang members, believe they produced the drugs in a factory in Hebei, with the goods destined for Shanghai.

A Shanghai Daily investigation revealed that the sex drug business has been thriving for years on the city's backstreets at Fangbang Road W. and at a downtown wholesale market on Tianmu Road.

But up until now FDA powers have been limited. "Sex pills vendors used this legal loophole to claim they are selling health products not drugs, so we can't shut them down," said an FDA official.

Now officials plan to use intellectual property rights legislation, as the pills use names and ingredients that violate companies' IP rights. "We are seeking joint efforts with police and the IP protection enforcement team," said an FDA official.


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