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UK raid seizes fake drugs

The MHRA has worked with police to strike against a counterfeit and controlled drugs ring

Counterfeit and unlicensed medicines, along with controlled drugs to the street value of approximately £150,000 ($216,000) have been seized by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as part of simultaneous raids on six locations across London and two in Yorkshire.

Six people in the UK, believed to be linked to a gang in Asia, were arrested in connection with the illegal sale and supply of a range of medicinal products, most of which are suspected to be counterfeit.

The action was prompted by information initially passed to the MHRA by Pfizer, Eli Lilly and sanofi-aventis.

The MHRA's head of intelligence, Nimo Ahmed, said: "Large boxes containing counterfeit and unlicensed medicines, together with packaging, computers and cash, were seized and the suspect medicines will now be sent to government laboratories to assess their authenticity.

"The products seized relate to treatments for depression and erectile dysfunction, as well as painkillers, sedatives and injectable anabolic steroids.

"At this stage, it is suspected that these medicines would have been supplied illegally over the internet."

Ahmed said people should be vigilant when buying medicines online and should only do so from registered websites that clearly display a contact name, number, the logo from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), and from RPSGB-registered premises.

"Better still, the safest way to obtain prescription only medicines is from a 'bricks and mortar' pharmacy following a consultation with a GP or a healthcare professional," he added.

The MHRA is the UK government agency responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work and are safe. Since 2006, it has seized more than £6m worth of counterfeit medicines.

9th June 2010

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