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[irishhealth.com] Thousands of illegal meds detained. (26 May 2014)

External website: http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=23661

Thousands of counterfeit and illegal tablets and capsules worth almost €300,000 have been detained in Ireland as part of a major international operation targeting online medicines.

The major haul was made between May 13 and 20 as part of Operation Pangea VII - an international week of action that specifically targeted the sale of illicit drugs via the internet.

Coordinated by INTERPOL, the operation was carried out in Ireland by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB), Revenue's Customs Service and the Gardai.

A total of 101,182 tablets, capsules and liquids were detained, including painkillers, weight loss products, erectile dysfunction medicines and sedatives. The majority of these products originated in China, Pakistan and India.

Internationally, 110 countries took part in the week-long operation and 239 arrests were made, including two in Ireland. Over 10,000 illegal websites were also closed down, including four Irish controlled sites.

The total value of illegal and counterfeit medicines detained during Operation Pangeaa VII was over €21 million.

According to John Lynch of the IMB, the goal is to ‘stem the flow of medicines from illegal pharmacy websites which present themselves to the general public as perfectly legitimate'.

He said that the reality is that many of these sites are actually controlled by ‘criminal networks'.

"In attempting to buy prescription medicines from such websites, not only are the public divulging their personal and financial details, they are also placing their 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," he commented.

Under Irish law, the sale of prescription-only medications via mail order, including via the internet, is prohibited.

Operation Pangea first took place in 2008 and involved just eight countries at that time, including Ireland.

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