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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Customs seize €600,000 of illegal online medicines

Tom Brady Security Editor

A CRACKDOWN on the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines has led to the seizure of more than 192,000 tablets and capsules.

The haul has an estimated value of over €612,000 and included 70 packages intercepted in the post by Customs officers.

The operation was mounted here over the past week by the Irish Medicines Board and the gardai as well as Customs officers and was part of an overall clampdown co-ordinated by Interpol in 100 different countries.

It resulted in 58 people being arrested worldwide and 9,610 illegal online pharmacy websites being shut down.

The substances seized here included mood stabilising medicines, weight-loss products and treatment for erectile dysfunction and fertility. Other medicines included antibiotics, anabolic steroids, corticosteroid and dietary supplements, which contained prescription-only ingredients.

Medicines Board chief executive Pat O'Mahony said the week-long operation, codenamed Pangea, was only one element of a year-round concerted strategy with the gardai and the customs.

Mr O'Mahony urged Irish consumers to refrain from taking unnecessary risks with their health.

"The board strongly advises consumers not to purchase medicines through any unauthorised sources as there can be no guarantee that they are genuine or safe.

"Some of these medicines have been shown to contain too little or too much of the active ingredient, while others contain the wrong active ingredient", he warned.

During Operation Pangea, six advertisements were removed from websites in Ireland to bring them into compliance, including those for botox and weight-loss medicines.

On a global scale, Pangea this week resulted in the detention of 58,481 packages, containing 9.8 million items of illegal and counterfeit medicines, valued at over €32m.

Irish Independent

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