Illegal prescription medicines worth €300,000 seized in Ireland
Interpol investigation leads to 239 arrests worldwide after drugs worth $30m detained
John Lynch of the Irish Medicines Board picturesd with some of the 100,000 illegal prescription medicines worth almost €300,000 detained in Ireland as part of an Interpol investigation. Photograph: Jason Clarke Photography
Two people have been arrested and more than 100,000 illegal prescription medicines worth almost €300,000 have been seized in Ireland as part of an international investigation into the sale and supply of counterfeit drugs.
The week-long crackdown by Interpol between May 13th and 20th resulted in 239 arrests worldwide. Almost 20,000 packages of illegal medications worth $29.9 million were seized under Operation Pangea VII.
The Irish Medicines Board, Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána seized 90,666 tablets, 1,800 capsules and 8,155 liquids, which included sedatives, painkillers, weight-loss products, anabolic steroids and erectile dysfunction medications.
Ten individual searches were carried out in Ireland, and 85 packages of medicines were intercepted by Customs.
Under Irish law, the sale of prescription only medicines by mail order is prohibited,
Commenting on the investigation, the Irish Medicines Board director of compliance John Lynch warned that people who purchase prescription medications online were “placing their health in very real danger”.
“Some of these medicines have been shown to contain too little or too much of the active ingredient while others contain the wrong active ingredient altogether,” he said.
“Our combined goal is to stem the flow of medicines from illegal pharmacy websites which present themselves to the general public as perfectly legitimate, but, in reality are not and many have been shown to be controlled by criminal networks.”
Around 10,600 illegal websites worldwide were shut down through the removal of online payment facilities or domain name registry, four of which were Irish-controlled.
This is the seventh year Interpol has carried out Operation Pangea investigations into the sale of counterfeit medications.