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Pills, liquids and creams among 750,000 doses of illegal medicines seized last year

The Irish Medicines Board said sedatives, weight loss pills and erectile dysfunction drugs were the most detained items as they warn against online purchasing.

OVER 750,000 DOSES  of illegal medicines were detained by The Irish Medicines Board last year with sedatives, weight loss pills and erectile dysfunction drugs the most seized items.

In its 2012 annual report published today, the IMB said that it is concerned with the “consistent levels” of counterfeit drugs they’ve detained in conjunction with the Revenue Customs Service and An Garda Síochána.

“We detained 725,352 tablet or capsules, 24,704 packs of liquids, 5,445 packs of creams and 2,775 dosage units of powders deemed to be unauthorised medicinal products, ” said chief executive Pat O’Mahony.

These detained products included 153,042 doses indicated for weight loss which contained the active substance sibutramine which is not permitted in any authorised medicinal product in the EU. In additon, 52,089 units related to erectile dysfunction products.The IMB says that the majority of these unauthorised medicinal products shipped into Ireland originate from India and China.

Illegal

O’Mahony emphasised that the IMB recommends that nobody should purchase medicines online:

There are no guarantees as to the safety, quality or effectiveness of these products. Medicines purchased on the internet can pose serious health risks to those who use them. The supply of prescription only medicines via the internet is illegal and no online pharmacy is authorised to operate in or into Ireland.

The IMB said it had taken part in an INTERPOL global operation in the autumn of last year which targeted illegal medicinal websites worldwide. That operation, named Pangea V, led directly in Ireland of  tablets, capsules and creams with an estimated value in excess of €375,000 according to the IRB.

Adverse reactions

Other findings from the IMB report include the registation of 388 new medical devices last year with the assessment of  1,372 new human medicine applications.

The board also carried out investigations into 2,757 reports of adverse reactions to medication in Ireland, a 7 per cent annual increase. Ireland ranked ninth highest worldwide in terms of per capita reporting adverse  reactions last year according to the World Health Organisation.

Read: Pharmacists: New drugs list will save patients and State money >

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Read: 3 in 5 people read product information on prescription medication: IMB >

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Rónán Duffy

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