£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."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

06 January 2022
Health Minister Urged To Launch Next Health Workers Payment Scheme
The Health Minister has been urged to launch Phase 2 of the Special Recognition Payment for health workers who have previously left employment in the independent sector or agencies as soon as possible.
14 December 2021
Health Minister Praises 'Herculean Efforts' To Deliver NI Vaccine Programme
NI's Health Minister, Robin Swann, has praised the "Herculean efforts" being made to further ramp up the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine boosters. Anyone aged 30 and over who is at least three months from their second dose is now eligible to attend a Trust walk-in vaccination hub.
25 November 2021
DUP Supports Bill To Tackle Online Anonymity And Abuse
The DUP have backed a new Private Members Bill to tackle the issue of online anonymity and abuse. Brought to Pariliament by Conservative MP Siobhan Baillie, the Bill was supported by Upper Bann DUP MP Carla Lockhart Commenting Carla Lockhart said: "Online abuse is now so woven into the World Wide Web that it is actually taking many platforms over.
29 November 2021
Overhead Road Signs To Display Public Health Messages
Overhead road signs on key strategic routes will display public health messages to support the ongoing fight against Covid-19, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced. Minister Mallon said: "Keeping people safe is my number one priority and I am committed to doing all that I can to help in the fight against COVID-19.
19 January 2022
Mental Health Services Waiting Times For Children 'Deeply Concerning'
The number of children waiting nine weeks or longer for appointments for mental health services has been described as "deeply concerning". Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn said that the numbers have doubled in a matter of months, and remains at unprecedented levels.