More than £15 million of counterfeit and unlicensed medicines have been seized across the UK including in Sheffield as part of a global crackdown on fake pharmaceuticals.
The week of action by Interpol and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency uncovered huge quantities of potentially harmful slimming pills, erectile dysfunction tablets and narcolepsy medicines across the country.
The seizures are a result of a month-long international crackdown on the illegal internet trade of medical products across 115 countries.
The operation included a week of action across the UK from June 9 to 16.
Dubbed Operation Pangea VII, the crackdown was run by Interpol, in conjunction with the MHRA in the UK.
In the UK, MHRA enforcement officers, with assistance from local police, raided known addresses in connection with the illegal internet supply of potentially harmful medicines.
It resulted in the seizure of almost 6.2 million doses of falsified, counterfeit and unlicensed medicines with a total value of £15.7 million. The UK operation also resulted in 1,380 websites being closed down, 339 of which were domestic sites.
MHRA Head of Enforcement Alastair Jeffrey said: “Operation Pangea is the global response to internet facilitated medicines and devices crime. As a result of our intelligence-led enforcement operations we have seized £15.7 million worth of counterfeit and unlicensed medicines and devices in the UK alone – which is almost twice as much as we recorded last year, and clear evidence that this is a growing concern that has to be taken seriously.
“Criminals involved in the illegal supply of medical products through the internet aren’t interested in your health - they are interested in your money and are able to get this by selling you a potentially dangerous product, or by stealing your bank details. To protect your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and buy medicines from a legitimate high street or registered pharmacy which can trade online.”
* Dawn raid on Sheffield property: See The Star and thestar.co.uk tomorrow