Wednesday, June 23, 2010

MHRA Press Release: £150,000 Fake Drug Stash Seized in Sting Operation

MHRA, the United Kingdom’s agency responsible medicines and medical devices work, released a press announcement regarding a large seizure of counterfeit, unlicensed medicines and controlled drugs in London on June 9th.

The following is the Press Release from MHRA:

Counterfeit and unlicensed medicines, along with controlled drugs to the street value of approximately £150,000, were seized by the MHRA yesterday as part of a simultaneous raid on six locations across London, and two in Yorkshire with the assistance of local police.

Six people in the UK believed to be linked to a gang in Asia were arrested in connection with the illegal sale and supply of a range of medicinal products, most of which are suspected to be counterfeit.

Information was initially passed to the MHRA by pharmaceutical manufacturers Pfizer, Lilly and Sanofi-Aventis.

MHRA Head of Intelligence Nimo Ahmed said, “Large boxes containing counterfeit and unlicensed medicines together with packaging, computers and cash were seized and the suspect medicines will now be sent to government laboratories to assess their authenticity.

“The products seized relate to treatment for depression, erectile dysfunction, as well as painkillers, sedatives and injectable anabolic steroids.

“At this stage it is suspected that these medicines would have been supplied illegally over the internet.”

Mr. Ahmed said people should be vigilant when buying medicines online and should only do so from registered websites that clearly display a contact name, number, the logo from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), and from premises that are registered with the RPSGB. Buying medicines from unregistered websites is dangerous as people would not know what they are actually taking. The dosages could be either too high or too low, or worse, the tablet could contain harmful ingredients.

“Better still, the safest way to obtain Prescription Only Medicines is from a ‘bricks and mortar’ pharmacy following a consultation with a GP or a healthcare professional,” he said.

“Those involved in this type of criminality do not care about your health. They are only in it for one reason, and that is to make money.”

The MHRA are grateful for the assistance provided by the Metropolitan Police, West Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police and the pharmaceutical manufacturers in this case.

This seizure is an excellent example of the continued proliferation of counterfeit medications within developed countries and sophisticated pharmaceutical supply chains. Since 2006 the MHRA has seized more than £6 million worth of counterfeit medicines.

Secure Pharma Chain Blog endorses continued regulation and enforcement related to fraudulent, adulterated and counterfeit medications and encourages all within the supply chain, including regulatory agencies to deploy solutions and technologies to protect their inventories and consumers from the deadly effects of this criminal act.

To read the entire Press Release on the MHRA website, visit:

To learn more about anti-counterfeiting technologies, visit:

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