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Crackdown on fake medicine

30th September 2011

Investigators are cracking down on the multi-million pound trade in fake and unlicensed medicines amid fears that they are causing potential health risks.

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A growing number of people are diagnosing their own medical problems and buying medication online, which has led to a surge in trade in fake and illegitimate drugs that are being supplied without a prescription.

Now, agencies are taking action against the problem as counterfeiters are moving on from selling lifestyle drugs such as Valium and Viagra to offer medication for cancer, heart conditions, epilepsy, asthma and depression.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulation Agency (MHRA) says more than a million doses of medicines worth £2m have been seized from the post and ports during a crackdown and a further 100,000 doses seized in police raids.

Many of the drugs are made in China or India but the MHRA has discovered a pharmaceutical drugs factory in London.

Investigators have been monitoring websites but as senior enforcement investigator Danny Lee-Frost points out, no-one involved in those websites is medically qualified and none of the products are licensed or tested.

“They are selling them to you as a drug dealer would, they are not interested in your health, they are interested in taking your money. And the money is big,” he said.

The MHRA points to a recent survey of GPs suggesting a quarter had treated patients made ill by drugs bought online.

Its advice is not to buy anything off the internet without a prescription. Legal internet pharmacies should always ask for one.

 

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Article Information

Title: Crackdown on fake medicine
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 19918
Date Added: 30th Sep 2011

Sources

BBC News

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