Over 100,000 TABLETS and capsules worth over €297,557 were seized in one week in Ireland as part of Interpol’s Operation Pangea VII.
The Irish Medicines Board (IMB), Revenue’s Customs Service and the gardaí confirmed the seizure today.
They said the operation, which involved 200 enforcement agencies across 110 countries, targeted online pharmacies that are part of criminal networks.
The medicines detained included prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction, steroids, tranquilizers and slimming tablets.
In total over 90,666 individual tablets, 1,800 capsules and 8,155 liquids were detained by the authorities.
Over the course of the week-long operation 85 individual packages of medicines were detained by Customs at its mail hubs across the country.
A total of ten search warrants were executed by the IMB, the gardaí and the Revenue’s Customs Service leading to two arrests being carried out.
Four Irish controlled websites were investigated and subsequently closed down during this week.
The Interpol coordinated initiative took place between 13-20 May and resulted in 239 arrests worldwide with some 10,600 illegal websites.
Under Irish law, the sale of prescription only medicines by mail order is prohibited
The main countries of origin of these counterfeit or illegal products detained in Ireland were China, Pakistan and India.
John Lynch, Director of Compliance of the Irish Medicines Board said their goal is “to stem the flow of medicines from illegal pharmacy websites which present themselves to the general public as perfectly legitimate, but, in reality are not and many have been shown to be controlled by criminal networks”.
He said that buying from these websites the public are placing their health “in very real danger”.
Lynch said that 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.
On an international scale packages inspected throughout the world in the week long operation resulted in the detention of 19,618 packages containing illegal and counterfeit medicines.
The total value of illicit medicines seized and detained during Operation Pangea VII is valued at $36,000,000 approximately.
Originally published 15.08