23/05/2014

£100,000 Worth Of Dangerous Medicine Seized

Tens of thousands of illegally imported and unauthorised medicines destined for addresses throughout Northern Ireland were seized as part of an international operation, according to the Department of Health.

Operation Pangea VII, which took place between 13 - 20 May 2014 and involving 111 countries, aimed to disrupt the organised crime networks behind the illicit online sale of medicines as well as raise awareness of the significant health risks associated with buying medicines online.

Health Minister Edwin Poots said: "The risk to the public due to illegal or counterfeit medicines cannot be understated. It is an issue I take very seriously and that is why my Department is committed to taking all possible steps to stop the supply of illegal medicines over the internet.

"The stark reality is that buying illegal medicines online could cost you your life.

"This problem is not something which the Department can tackle alone.

"Operation Pangea VII has involved the coordinated efforts of the Police, the UK Border Force and officers from my Department, who will continue to be vigilant throughout the year in their determination to stop the spread of this serious problem.

"I commend the efforts of all involved in removing these illicit, illegal and potentially life-threatening substances from our streets."

The illicit medicines recovered in Northern Ireland included over 65,000 benzodiazepine tablets, steroids and erectile dysfunction medicines, worth up to £100,000 on the black market.

Professor Mike Mawhinney, Head of MRG, Department of Health, added: "People should take prescription only medicines in consultation with their GP, pharmacist or other healthcare professionals who have access to patient health records and can take into account the risks and benefits associated with every medicine.

"Medicines obtained through unregulated internet sites may not have been prescribed by a healthcare practitioner, may not have been subject to the normal controls on manufacture and may not be of a suitable quality or be of the nature described."

(CD)

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