UK raid nets major fake drug stash10-Mar-2009
More than £250,000-worth of counterfeit, unlicensed, withdrawn medicines and controlled drugs were seized by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) enforcement team earlier this month as part of a simultaneous raid on five locations in Stoke-on-Trent.
The early morning raid, held with the assistance of Stoke-on-Trent police resulted in a 50-year-old Canadian woman arrested on suspicion of being involved in the sale and supply of a range of medicinal products, some of which are suspected to be fake.
The woman was released on police bail this morning to appear at a later date for further questioning.
A couple in their 60s from the Stockton Brooks area in Stoke-on-Trent have also been questioned by MHRA investigators and are assisting in their enquiries.
The trio are believed to be linked to an illegal online pharmacy selling prescription only medicines around the globe.
MHRA Head of Operations Danny Lee-Frost said the stash, recovered from a small flat in Stoke-on-Trent, was "just the tip of the ice-berg" in what is predicted to be a multi-million pound illegal online medicines business.
"This online pharmacy has been supplying a massive range of medicines from weight and hair loss tablets, to antidepressants, powerful painkillers and even anabolic steroids."
"What we seized today is estimated at a quarter of a million pounds worth but the business as a whole could be generating a turnover in excess of a couple of million."
Lee-Frost said people should be vigilant when buying medicines online and should only do so from registered websites after a consultation with their GP or a healthcare professional.
The MHRA has seized more than £6m-worth of counterfeit medicines since 2006.
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