Monday 23 April 2018

Over one million doses of medicine seized by authorities last year

IMO President Dr Ray Walley
IMO President Dr Ray Walley
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

Over one million doses of medicine were seized by authorities last year, according to new figures.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority’s annual report for 2015 confirmed that there was a massive increase on 2014, when just over 730,000 units were seized.

Dr Ray Walley of the Irish Medical Organisation’s GP Committee put the increase in seizures down to an increase of availability of illegal and counterfeit drugs through websites.

There was an absence of legislation allowing for prosecution of people buying through these websites which has now been corrected, but much more funding needs to be committed to solving the problem, according to Dr Walley.

“We need to fund policing and we need to fund education, because a lot of the time people don’t know the dangers of ordering these drugs. If you order medication from these illicit websites, you have no idea what you’re actually getting,” he said.

Dr Walley also stressed the need for more funding to treat addiction: “There are only 35 public beds for detox in the country, and a lot of the people who are buying these are addicts who come from the most vulnerable groups in society.”

Over two-thirds of the goods seized were sedative products, while erectile dysfunction medications, illegal cosmetics and slimming products also accounted for large numbers of the seizures.

More and more drug dealers are selling counterfeit medication along with controlled substances.

The HPRA report states that INTERPOL have coordinated efforts in over 100 countries to target the ‘criminal networks’ behind illicit websites selling illegal and counterfeit drugs.

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