Coronavirus: global crackdown sees a rise in unlicenced medical products related to COVID-19

This 12 months’s operation recognized a disturbing development of criminals who’re profiting from the COVID-19 outbreak by exploiting the excessive market demand for private safety and hygiene products.

Operation Pangea XIII occurred from March three to 10 and concerned police, customs and well being regulatory authorities from 90 international locations, all aiming to forestall the exercise of illicit on-line gross sales of medicines and medical products. Counterfeit face masks and unauthorised antiviral remedy had been all seized beneath the operation.

Globally, 2,000 on-line commercials related to COVID-19 had been discovered and greater than 34,000 unlicensed and faux products, marketed as “corona spray”, “coronavirus medicines” or, “coronaviruses packages” had been seized. Whilst there have been no coronavirus related products discovered to have reached UK borders on this event, Operation Pangea goals to deal with severe organized crime globally and the MHRA performs a huge function in making certain unlicensed medicines and medical units do not make their approach onto UK markets.

In the UK the MHRA Enforcement staff and colleagues from UK Border Force discovered 871,616 doses of unlicensed medicines with a worth of £2.6m and moreover took down 294 web sites and eliminated 1031 social media adverts on-line providing medicines illegally. Working alongside law enforcement officials the MHRA staff executed seven warrants main to two arrests as a part of investigations linked to the unlawful on-line sale of medicines, ensuing in the seizure of anti-anxiety, sedatives and weight reduction products.

Fake medicines included anti-depressants, erectile dysfunction tablets, painkillers and anabolic steroids all seized by officers from the MHRA and UK Border Force. The seizures had been a part of Interpol’s globally coordinated Operation Pangea focusing on the unlawful sale on-line of pretend and unlawful medicines and units.

The majority of seizures made through the operation had been unlicensed copies of erectile dysfunction remedy totalling 611,888 doses. Other important seizures included medicines to deal with insomnia (88,160 doses) and ache aid remedy (26,005).

Mark Jackson, Head of Enforcement on the MHRA, mentioned:

Criminals who promote medicines and units illegally will not be solely breaking the legislation however haven’t any regard in your well being and can benefit from a main public well being disaster to make a revenue.
Taking pretend or unlicensed medicines and utilizing a non-compliant medical system may put your well being and security in hazard and should lead to severe well being points.

Our intelligence-led operations throughout the UK have seized thousands and thousands of pretend and unlicensed medicines. The MHRA is dedicated to working with our worldwide companions and UK Border Force to forestall pretend medicines from getting into the UK and to determine illicit web sites providing to promote and provide medicines and medical units illegally.

The MHRA’s #FakeMeds marketing campaign goals to encourage individuals in the UK who select to purchase remedy on-line to take steps to make sure that they’re buying from protected and bonafide sources. The marketing campaign additionally highlights the risks of pretend medicines offered on-line and the detrimental well being results that taking them can have. It additionally encourages individuals to report suspected dodgy medication, and any unwanted side effects skilled to the Yellow Card scheme

MHRA security recommendation when shopping for medicines:

Be cautious when shopping for medicines on-line

Medicines and medical units will not be odd shopper items and their sale and provide is tightly managed. Websites working outdoors the authorized provide chain could seem tempting, for instance prescription drugs is obtainable with out a prescription. Not solely are they breaking the legislation – they’re placing your well being in danger.

Do not self-prescribe

Self-diagnosis and self-medication may be very harmful. If you could have a concern about your well being, go to your GP, get a appropriate prognosis and if medicines are prescribed, purchase them from a reputable supply.

Visit the #FakeMeds web site for instruments and sources to assist individuals buy remedy or medical units safely on-line.


Notes to Editor

  1. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is accountable for regulating all medicines and medical units in the UK by making certain they work and are acceptably protected. All our work is underpinned by sturdy and fact-based judgements to be certain that the advantages justify any dangers.

  2. MHRA is a centre of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency which additionally consists of the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC)and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). MHRA is an government company of the Department of Health and Social Care.

  3. Operation Pangea is a world initiative to goal the unlawful web commerce in medicines. It was instigated by the MHRA in April 2006 and began because the UK Internet Day of Action (IDA).The annual operation is the biggest web based mostly enforcement motion of its form to date and was coordinated by INTERPOL, along with the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO), Europol and the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), and supported by the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and personal sector corporations together with LegitScript, Google, Mastercard, Visa, American Express and PayPal.

  4. The #FakeMeds marketing campaign is a public well being marketing campaign which goals to cut back the hurt attributable to buying pretend, unlicensed or counterfeit medical products on-line. The present part the #FakeMeds marketing campaign focuses on the problem of pretend erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines and raises consciousness of the prevalence of pretend ED medicines on-line, encouraging audiences to purchase from reputable sources. Previous phases of the marketing campaign have targeted on dodgy fat burners and faux self-testing STI kits. Follow #FakeMeds on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

  5. The Yellow Card scheme helps the MHRA monitor the security of all healthcare products in the UK to guarantee they’re acceptably protected for sufferers and people who use them

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