Customs seize over 50,000 illegal medicines in post including erectile dysfunction
Over 50,000 counterfeit and illegal medicines have been seized in a week-long joint operation by customs, the Gardai and the Irish Medicines Board.
The tablets, capsules and creams, worth around €150,000, were seized as part of a campaign targeting the online sale of medicines.
The initiative was part of an international Interpol-co-ordinated week of action, codenamed Pangea and involving 83 countries.
In Ireland, 492 packages were detained in Ireland by customs.
Most contained products for weight loss and erectile dysfunction.
However, other substances found included steroids, antibiotics, pain killers, cardiac medicines, cholesterol lowering products, cancer medicines and insulin.
According to Pat O'Mahony, chief executive of the Irish Medicines Board, many of the products are counterfeit with either too little or too much active ingredient, no active ingredient or banned substances.
"At least 50pc of dieting products, many of which are called herbal or botanic, are laced with a drug called sibutramine, which is no longer licensed in Europe because it has substantial adverse health effects."
He said direct contact is made with everybody whose packages have been intercepted and a number of cases are prosecuted every year, though mostly in cases where there are large quantities intended for resupply.
It is estimated that around 60,000 Irish people are purchasing online medicines every year.