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Press Release: Huge amount of fake sex medicines seized in joint international raids

Press release

Date: 20 March 2012
Time: 16:00
Subject: Huge amount of fake sex medicines seized in joint international raids
Contact: Press Office 020 3080 7651
or press.office@mhra.gsi.gov.uk
Out-of-hours 07770 446 189

A man and a woman have been arrested in Hartlepool and several thousand fake medicine tablets have been seized worth around £115,000 in raids by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The tablets were all in blister packs and included counterfeit Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. In addition, other illegal generic versions of Viagra, Cialis and the withdrawn anti-obesity medicines rimonabant and sibutramine were found.

In a joint operation, known as ‘Operation Tribulus’, led by Spanish police and coordinated by Europol, six people in total have been arrested and almost 300,000 doses of fake medication seized.

Police in Spain arrested four people as part of an international operation lasting several months. Those arrested are thought to be part of a criminal gang importing fake medicines from Asia, mainly China and Singapore, and distributing them via the internet to customers throughout Europe.

Nimo Ahmed, the MHRA’s Acting Head of Enforcement, said: “Unlicensed, untested and fake medicines can put people’s health, and even life, at risk. It is very common for counterfeit medicines to be laced with dangerous ingredients or contain the wrong amounts of active ingredients or even none at all. This means they can be ineffective or dangerous.

“These arrests show the value of working with our international partners in combating criminals dealing in counterfeit medicines and they reflect our commitment to stopping these dangerous medicines reaching the public.”

Notes to Editor

1. 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.
Page last modified: 20 March 2012