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UK seizes £9m+ in illegal medicines

Over three million medicines captured in black market trade haul

June 18th 2021

Tagged: Research


Over three million medicines and medical devices valued at over £9 million have been seized by UK officers in a global operation tackling the illegal online sale of medicines and medical devices. In the UK, 113,000 illegally operating websites were also removed, or had their URLs blocked.

In a week of action coordinated by Interpol, this year’s ‘Operation Pangea’ ran from 18 to 25 May and saw over 100 countries joining forces to seize non-compliant medical products and also to identify and remove thousands of illegally operating websites and URLs offering medicines and devices. The operation also involved coordinating the arrests of several suspected organised criminals.

Among the medicines seized were anti-depressants, erectile dysfunction tablets, painkillers, anabolic steroids and slimming pills

The MHRA will analyse the global results to create a better understanding of current and emerging threats. This work includes the identification of ‘hotspot’ exporting countries and trends in black market medicine sales.

The MHRA’s #FakeMeds campaign aims to support legitimate online medicine sales.  Suspicious offers and any side effects experienced should be reported to the Yellow Card scheme.