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Sting seizes fake drugs worth €600k

COUNTERFEIT and illegal medicines worth more than €600,000 were seized during a week-long operation involving customs officers, gardai, Interpol and the Irish Medicines Board.

During the operation, six ads for Botox and weight loss medicines were also removed from Irish websites to bring them into compliance.

Operation Pangea VI brought in over 192,000 counterfeit and illegal prescription medicines between June 18 and 25.

It was part of an international week of action targeting the sale of illegal medicine in 100 countries, which resulted in 58 people being arrested worldwide and 9,610 illegal online pharmacy websites being shut down.

The drugs included mood stabilisers, weight-loss products, erectile dysfunction medicines and fertility treatments.

Pat O'Mahony, chief executive of the Irish Medicines Board, has revealed that in the first six months of this year over 670,000 illegal and counterfeit medicines valued at over €2m have been seized.

PROTECT

This week's Operation Pangea is the sixth such operation focusing on illegal websites that supply illegal and dangerous medicines.

Mr O'Mahony said that the initiative is the largest internet based action of its kind and it aims to protect public health by highlighting the dangers of counterfeit and illegal medicines. He urged Irish consumers not to take unnecessary risks with their own health through buying medicines from unauthorised sources "as there can be no guarantee that they are genuine or safe".

Consumers, he said, "must recognise that they are placing their own health in very real danger. 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 altogether".

Mr O'Mahony also said people buying these drugs through the internet should be aware they may be exposing their personal financial details and identity to the criminal networks that are behind the online sale of counterfeit, falsified and illegally supplied medicines.

csheehy@herald.ie


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