Over 200,000 illegal medicines seized in Ireland

Nearly 40 websites and eight social media pages were taken offline

Over 200,000 illegal medicines seized in Ireland

Image via @KiiimBuckley on Twitter

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has seized more than 200,000 illegal prescription medicines valued at over €850,000.

Operations were carried out in partnership with Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána as part of the Interpol-coordinated 'Operation Pangea'.

The week long focus in Ireland also saw two arrests, the investigation of 38 websites and eight social media pages being taken offline.

While Interpol says the global operation resulted in over 25 million illegal medicines and medical devices worth over US$56m being detained across 123 countries.

The breakdown of the 200,000 detained medicines in Ireland includes:

  • Sedatives: 76,000 units
    Anabolic Steroids: 72,000 units
    Erectile Dysfunction: 23,000 units
    Antibiotics: 2,600 units
    Analgesics: 2,500 units
    Slimming: 2,300 units
    Cognitive: 1,600 units
    Other products (small volumes) 23,000 units

The medicines detained included significant volumes of anabolic steroids, sedatives and erectile dysfunction medicines as well as painkillers, stimulants, injectable tanning products, insulin injectable pens and weight loss products.

Image via @TheHPRA on Twitter

The HPRA says in total, more than 1,000 individual packages containing tablets, capsules and ampoules were intercepted.

The main countries of origin for these were India, China, Latvia, UK, Moldova, Cameroon, Pakistan and the US.

A total of 20 search warrants were executed jointly by the HPRA, An Garda Síochána and Revenue’s Customs Service - while 38 websites investigated were forced to either close or cease selling product into Ireland.

Eight social media pages and 18 advertisements on online auction sites were also taken down during the operation.

Some 197 enforcement agencies across 123 countries were involved in the operation, which targeted the supply of falsified and or counterfeit and other illegal medicines and medical devices.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: "It is important for everyone to be aware that these types of products can pose a serious health risk.

"Consumers have no way of knowing what is actually in the medicine or how and where they were made.

"I hope that when people see the images from today of the illegal products that have been detained that they will think seriously about the risks involved in buying prescription medicines online. If anyone does have concerns about their health, then they should seek proper advice from their healthcare professional and they should only purchase prescription medicines from a recognised pharmacy."