£2 million of fake medicines seized in the UK

Image of different pills to depict fake medicines seized

There has been more than £2 million of fake medicines seized in the UK as part of an international crackdown. The crackdown on falsified medicines and medical devices by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has netted a haul of more than 1 million doses worth in excess of £2 million.

They were seized as part of Interpol’s globally coordinated Operation Pangea initiative involving 116 countries.

Between 9 and 17 October, the MHRA and UK partners found falsified and unlicensed medicines and medical devices in the UK including diazepam, modafinil and dermal fillers.

Using intelligence, MHRA enforcement officers raided a semi-detached property and a small lock-up unit in connection with the illegal supply online of potentially harmful medicines. This led to one arrest. Raids on the properties in the north of England involved local police and forms part of an international response coordinated through Interpol to the growing illegal trading in online medicines and medical devices. Worldwide, Operation Pangea led to 859 arrests and yielded items worth in the region of £10.9 million.

As well as the property raids, the team also targeted airports and mail delivery centres. During the searches, officers found numerous packages containing illegal consignments of medicines and medical devices including many hidden within other items such as video games and clothing.

The team also targeted websites on the open and dark web that offer falsified and unlicensed medical products. The action has led to 123 websites being shut down and the removal of 535 online adverts.