Finns annually purchase some 44 million euros of fake drugs and medicines, most of which are ordered via the internet and sent by air mail.
Finnish customs are engaging in a special campaign aimed at detecting fake drugs and Springer is their star performer. It’s his duty to look out for the potency drug Viagra amid the mountain of post.
Potent Air Mail
Custom officials introduced the work of the Viagra dog on Monday. It is no easy task as Viagra is far less pungent than, say, hashish.
“At home Springer is very peaceful and not at least interested in the smell of medicines. Work is never mixed with pleasure,” says the dog’s trainer, Nico Neef.
Viagra is one of the world’s most counterfeited drugs and big money is always at stake.
Consumers Have Blind Faith
”Consumers believe they receive what they ordered but this is not always the case,” notes Customs Chief Inspector Kirsi Taipale.
Her view is echoed by Pasi Virta, director at pharmaceuticals company Pfizer.
“Counterfeit products can contain narcotics or, on the other hand, no active agent at all,” he observes.
Scanning and random searches are the methods employed by Finnish customs officials to detect counterfeit drugs. Most fakes originate from India but manufacturers have been found in Austria and Britain. So far Viagra dogs like Springer have not been used but officials say time will tell if they are eventually recruited.
Between 3 and 30 packages of counterfeit pills and drugs are found daily by officials.