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Friday 2 June 2023 Dublin: 10°C
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# illegal medication
Sedatives and erectile dysfunction pills: One million doses of illegal medicines seized last year
The HPRA expressed concern at an increase in detention of illegal medicines during 2020.

OVER 1.6 MILLION units of illegal medicines were detained last year, the country’s health watchdog has confirmed. 

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) today expressed concern at an increase in detention of illegal medicines during 2020 compared to the year previous. 

During 2020, some 1,610,295 dosage units (tablets, capsules, vials, etc) of falsified and other illegal medicines were detained by the authority’s enforcement unit. This marks an increase of 58% on the previous year. 

In the 12 months of last year, the most significant categories of illegal products included sedatives (36%), erectile dysfunction medicines (30%), analgesics (9%) and anabolic steroids (6%). 

The supply of these products into and within Ireland is illegal and the HPRA said consumers can have no guarantees about the safety or quality of prescription medicines they are seeking to buy outside of the regulated pharmacy setting.

“The internet is a major outlet for legitimate purchases such as food, clothing and electronics, and people may not realise that sourcing prescription medicines online is illegal and that the sources behind these sites can be bogus, or worse, criminal networks,” HPRA chief executive Dr Lorraine Nolan said. 

“The monitoring of websites, online marketplace advertisements and social media sites throughout the year to identify illegal sales of illicit medicines is a key part of our work to protect consumers,” Dr Nolan said. 

She said the authority is “seriously concerned” that an escalating number of people are “not conscious of the potentially significant health risks they are taking by purchasing potent prescription medicines online without medical supervision, rather than under the care of their doctor of pharmacist”. 

“While in many cases, those who buy online at best may be simply wasting their money on falsified (including counterfeit) product, at worst, they may be taking very serious health risks,” Dr Nolan added. 

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