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DRUG

Arrests made in global drug ring raid

Three people have been arrested in Stockholm and held on suspicion of the illegal sale of prescription drugs, including diet pills and impotence treatment, as part of a international police operation.

Arrests made in global drug ring raid

Police in 26 countries have collaborated on the raid and a total of 22 people have been arrested in connection with the crackdown on the global network.

The three suspects currently being held by police deny any involvement. A further two people were arrested but were later released without charge.

During the raid in capital, police seized a large amount of medication with an estimated value of 1 million kronor ($144,100).

The tablets appear to be known brands such as Viagra but tests have revealed some to be placebo pills while others have small or large amounts of effective substances.

”Some contain nothing and others pills contact either a fraction of the substances or ten times more than real prescription drugs,” said Cecilia Fant, criminal inspector from the National Criminal Investigation Department (Rikskriminalpolisen).

Over 750 illegal websites around the world which sell tampered medication have been identified and 72 have been shut down.

”There has been a growth in the number of illegal online drug stores and it is difficult to identify them,” Fant added. ”But we expect to arrest more people in Sweden in connection with this type of crime.”

Police are unable to estimate how many people have been affected in Sweden by buying the medication.

The pills are largely bought from China, India and Thailand and sold on at a huge profit via the internet.

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RACISM

Pharmacy to launch plasters for darker skin

Swedish pharmacy chain Apoteket has told The Local it is hoping to offer a range of bandaids suitable for customers with darker skin tones by the end of the year as part of efforts to cut discrimination.

Pharmacy to launch plasters for darker skin
An Apoteket store in Stockholm. Photo: Roger Vikström/TT
The company, which has 370 stores across Sweden said it had come up with the idea after talking to a number of Swedish anti-racism charities.
 
“We're looking at whether it's possible to have different coloured plasters but we haven't made a final decision on it yet,” Communications Director Eva Fernvall told The Local on Wednesday.
 
“It won't happen by next week but we hope to have something in place by the end of the year,” she added.
 
Apoteket faced criticism earlier this week by a Swedish blogger who runs the website Vardagsrasismen.nu (which translates as 'Everyday Racism').
 
Paula Dahlberg told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio on Monday that the pharmacy giant was contributing to racism by only offering shades of beige plasters (also called bandaids in some countries) on its shelves.
 
But Fernvall insisted that the company's decision to trial darker products was made long before the writer made the comments.
 
“The fact she said that demonstrates that there are heated discussions about immigrants and refugees right now,” she said, adding that the national chemist chain was committed to reducing discrimination.
 
She admitted that the plaster plan was “unusual” and noted that she had “never heard of anything like this in any other countries”.
 
Debates around immigration have intensified over the last 12 months in Sweden, which currently takes in more asylum seekers per capita than any other EU nation.
 
The nationalist Sweden Democrat party is the third largest in parliament after winning 12.9 percent of the vote in elections in September 2014 and is continuing to gain public support.
 
Sweden's government has said it is committed to maintaining the nation's reputation for tolerance and offering help to refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East and Africa. But it has welcomed efforts by the European Commission to encourage other European Union member states to take in a greater share of asylum seekers.