£2m worth of counterfeit medicines seized by UK authorities
Approximately £2m worth of unlicensed and counterfeit medicines have been seized by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and UK law enforcement as part of a week-long crackdown on the illegal sale of medicines online.
The action is part of “Operation Pangea IV” — an Interpol-led global initiative that aims to shut down illegal websites and seize counterfeit medicines.
Operation Pangea IV ran from 20–27 September and resulted in more than £5m worth of counterfeit and illegal medicines being seized worldwide. About 13,500 websites were also shut down as part of the operation.
In the UK, 13 people were arrested and 16 addresses were raided in connection with illegal supply of medicines via the internet.
The MHRA and UK Border Agency captured more than one million doses of illegal medicines, including anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and antidepressants. Also seized were medicines used to treat epilepsy, breast cancer, narcolepsy and erectile dysfunction.
Nimo Ahmed, acting head of enforcement for the MHRA, said: “What we are trying to do is tackle demand through raising public awareness, so that people are making informed decisions about where they are getting their medicines from, but also attacking supply by working with partners such as the Metropolitan Police … and the UK Border Agency.”
“It really is about protecting the public’s health,” he added.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11085673
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