Gym-owners urged to stamp out steroid abuse
A record 72,000 units of anabolic steroids were among a massive haul of illegally imported medicines seized in the latest crackdown.
The potentially dangerous substances, used to increase muscle mass and athletic performance, were among 200,000 units of illegal prescription medicines valued at €850,000 that were confiscated by the Interpol-coordinated Operation Pangea X.
It is a three-fold increase in seizures compared to last year.
Some of the massive haul was put on display by the medicines' watchdog, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), yesterday - including painkillers, slimming tablets and sedatives.
The HPRA, the Revenue Customs Service, and An Garda Síochána jointly led the operation in Ireland.
In some cases gangs were behind the imports, particularly involving anabolic steroids.
Health Minister Simon Harris called on gym-owners to do more to stamp out the use of the drugs.
HPRA chief executive Dr Lorraine Nolan said: "There is no guarantee as to what is contained in these products we have detailed, or under what conditions they have been manufactured.
"We urge members of the public not to use unverified and unregulated sources, such as the internet, to buy prescription only medicines or other illegal health products."
She said anabolic steroids may have very high levels of active ingredient with potentially serious side effects. However, there is under-reporting of side-effects.