Brighton premises raided in internet drugs clampdown

Posted On 19 Nov 2009 at 11:58 pm

A Brighton property is among 13 raided as part of a clampdown on people using the internet to sell fake or illicit drugs.

The raids took place across the country this week and were co-ordinated by Interpol and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Similar raids took place in 24 countries. In total, more than 16,000 packages were inspected by regulators and customs officers. Nearly 167,000 illicit and counterfeit pills were seized.

During the operation, internet monitoring found 751 websites to be engaged in illegal activity including offering controlled or prescription-only drugs.

The Spearhead

The MHRA is also running an awareness campaign to warn people that buying medicines from unregulated websites significantly increases the risk of obtaining counterfeit, sub-standard and dangerous products.

Three arrests were made in Britain, six websites were closed down and £300,000 of illicit medicines were seized as well as quantities of controlled drugs.

The types of medicines the MHRA found included fake Viagra and other treatments for erectile dysfunction.

They also confiscated contraceptive and pain relief medicines and treatments for hair loss, weight loss and asthma as well as local anaesthetics and steroids.

Interpol and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) worked with national medicines regulators, police and customs.

Their joint operation focused on the three principle components of an illegal website, the internet service provider (ISP), payment systems and the delivery service.

The MHRA’s head of enforcement, Mick Deats, said that what often looked like a professional online pharmacy would turn out to be an illicit website selling fake or illegal medication.

He said: “This week we have recovered a range of different medicines that were being supplied with no prescription and stored in unacceptable conditions by persons unqualified to dispense medicines.

“These websites often look like the real deal, but if they don’t carry the green cross logo of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) and have a ‘bricks and mortar’ address, then they are often dealing illegally.

“The dangers of purchasing medicines from unregulated websites are that you just don’t know what you are taking.

“The dosages could be either too high or too low, contain no pharmaceutical ingredient or a totally different ingredient to that stated.

“Illegal suppliers have no quality control or standards to abide by and people who purchase medicine from these sources will never know where the tablets they are putting in their mouths have actually originated or what they contain.

“If customers could see the filthy conditions in which some of these medicines were being transported, stored and handled, they wouldn’t touch them.”

He urged anyone concerned that their medicine may be counterfeit to contact the MHRA’s dedicated 24-hour anti-counterfeiting hotline on 020 7084 2701. They may also email the agency at

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