Swissmedic warns against purchasing medications to treat or prevent COVID-19 infections online

COVID-19: increase in illegally imported medicinal products


Private individuals are continuing to place orders online for medications promoted as supposed alternatives to authorised medicinal products in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. Many non-reputable suppliers of illegal products exploit people's fears of a possible severe infection. Swissmedic advises against purchasing and using unauthorised medicines to treat COVID-19 offered in printed advertisements, promotional e-mails or via the Internet or social media.

Customs posts of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) have discovered more illegal consignments of medicinal products in recent weeks and have forwarded them to Swissmedic. The illegal imports of medicinal products included increased shipments of medications to treat worms and other parasites (e.g. containing the active substance ivermectin). It is particularly concerning that the efficacy of this remedy against COVID-19 has not been reviewed as part of an authorisation process, and that such medicines come from manufacturing sites that have not been inspected and from criminal suppliers.

If you purchase medicines from an unregulated source, you are putting your health at risk

Using medicinal products purchased online from unknown sources can be harmful to health. Depending on their symptoms, anyone needing a medicinal product should ask their doctor or a pharmacy or drugstore. Purchasing medicinal products from controlled sources is the only way of guaranteeing that their quality complies with requirements and that they pose no risk to health.

Is ivermectin effective against COVID-19?

Online channels in particular have been spreading the idea that the deworming medicine ivermectin can reliably prevent or cure COVID-19. Swissmedic currently has no scientific proof to support this claim. Uncontrolled use of ivermectin puts your health at risk.