Suspected criminality associated with medicinal products: Swissmedic investigates in three cantons


Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, conducted house searches in collaboration with the police, the Zurich public prosecutor and Italian authorities. Several individuals are suspected of offences against the Therapeutic Products Act.

As part of an ongoing investigation, yesterday Swissmedic conducted house searches at six locations in German-speaking Switzerland. The operation was carried out in collaboration with the regional office of the public prosecutor Limmattal/Albis, the Zurich cantonal police, the Thurgau cantonal police, the Aargau cantonal police and the Italian authorities.

Three individuals have been provisionally taken into custody. They are suspected of having manufactured, distributed and used medicines illegally in Switzerland and Italy, thereby endangering the health of patients. The accused persons are to be presumed innocent until proved guilty.

The products in question contain preparations made from human cell constituents (cell extracts) and have been used as medicinal products.

Background information

Products made from human or animal tissue, and containing no living cells, are considered to be medicinal products and are subject to the Therapeutic Products Act. The manufacture and distribution of such preparations require the approval of Swissmedic. This also applies to the import, wholesale trading or export of the preparations.

These types of treatment with non-living cells of human or animal origin should not be confused with so-called "fresh cell" therapies: The use of live animal cells is known as xenotransplantation and is subject to the Transplantation Act. Types of cell therapy in which products prepared from cells, tissues or organs (transplant products) are manufactured or processed are subject to the Transplantation Act and the Therapeutic Products Act.


Swissmedic, Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products
Peter Balzli, Acting spokesman
+41 58 462 02 76

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