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Press release: £500,000 fake drug stash seized in undercover operation

Press release

Date: 30 Mar 2009
Time: 10:00
Subject: £500,000 fake drug stash seized in undercover operation
Contact: Press Office 020 3080 7651
or press.office@mhra.gsi.gov.uk
Out-of-hours 07770 446 189

Approximately half a million pounds worth of counterfeit medicines were seized by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) enforcement team on 26 March 2009 as part of a simultaneous raid on four locations in Middlesbrough.

The early morning raid, held with the assistance of Cleveland Police and Cleveland Trading Standards, resulted in four Chinese nationals arrested on suspicion of being involved in the sale and supply of a range of medicines, suspected to be fake.

The individuals, two Chinese men and two women, were released on police bail to appear at a later date for further questioning.

MHRA Head of Enforcement Mick Deats said, “Enquiries suggest that the counterfeit medicines originated from China and were being delivered to various addresses in the Middlesbrough area.

“The counterfeit medicines, which were for erectile dysfunction, anxiety and weight loss will now be submitted for forensic analysis to determine their content and investigations will focus upon the onward distribution of these goods.

“We are grateful for the assistance provided by Cleveland Police and Trading Standards. The MHRA will not hesitate to use the fullest extent of powers available to tackle the sale and supply of counterfeit medicines in the UK. Counterfeit medicines are dangerous to public health. Those involved in these types of dealings do not care about your health. They are only in it for one reason, and that is to make money.”

Approximately £10,000 pounds worth of other counterfeit goods were also recovered, as well as a number of computers and documentation.

Notes to Editor

  1. The MHRA has seized more than £6 million worth of counterfeit medicines since 2006.
  2. To report a counterfeit medicine or device contact the dedicated 24-hour hotline on 020 7084 2701, or e-mail counterfeit@mhra.gsi.gov.uk, or write to
    The Intelligence Unit
    Market Towers
    1 Nine Elms Lane
    London, SW8 5NQ
  3. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe. No product is risk-free. Underpinning all our work lie robust and fact-based judgements to ensure that the benefits to patients and the public justify the risks. We keep watch over medicines and devices, and take any necessary action to protect the public promptly if there is a problem. We encourage everyone – the public and healthcare professionals as well as the industry – to tell us about any problems with a medicine or medical device, so that we can investigate and take any necessary action. www.mhra.gov.uk
Page last modified: 30 March 2009