A MAJOR GLOBAL operation targeting the online sale of illegal and counterfeit medicines has resulted in the seizure of more than €150,000 worth of drugs in Ireland alone.
Erectile dysfunction and weight loss medications were among those seized in Operation Pangea IV, which involved authorities from over 80 countries. The Irish Medicines Board (IMB), the Revenue’s Customs Service and the gardaí all cooperated in the Irish side of the operation.
More than 470 websites have been closed down due to the Interpol investigation.
Pat O’Mahony, Chief Executive of the IMB said that counterfeit and illegal medicines pose “a serious and potentially fatal threat to public health”. He strongly advised consumers not to purchase medicines “through any unauthorised sources” as there can be no guarantee that they are genuine or safe.
“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. As a result, there is a very real danger that these medicines will actually damage the health of those who use them,” he said.
O’Mahony also reminded the public that criminal networks were responsible for the websites, and that consumers were exposing themselves to potential credit card fraud by handing over their details to them.
Almost 500 packages containing over 51,000 tablets, capsules and creams were seized during the seven-day operation. They included weight loss tablets, erectile dysfunction tablets and capsules, antibiotics, hormones and steroid products, anti-depressants, pain killers, cardiac medication, cholesterol lowering medication, stimulants and amphetamines, cancer medication and insulin.
Drugs worth £150,000 were seized in Northern Ireland as part of the same operation.