A SIGNIFICANT number of patients have been badly damaged after taking fake medicines they bought over the internet, the head of the country's drugs watchdog has revealed.
Pat O'Mahony, chief executive of the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) said he was not able to give further information because of the need for confidentiality.
However, he said the vast majority of drugs ordered illegally online are bought for personal use, often because people do not want to discuss problems such as male impotence or weight loss with their doctors.
Seizures of drugs worth around €2m have been made in the first six months of 2013 and, although it was thought the problem was receding in 2012, it now looks like that's not so.
Mr O'Mahony – who was addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children – said his organisation had no role in drug prices.
However, it is grouping different medicines to treat particular illnesses. This lists the different drugs which are interchangeable and equally effective allowing the patient to buy the cheapest.
A system of reference pricing for these drugs will come in later this year which will bring down prices further, he added.