A batch of counterfeit medicines with a street value of around half a million pounds has been seized by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency following an undercover operation in Middlesborough.

The UK drugs watchdog said yesterday that the early morning raids by its enforcement team and Cleveland police on four different locations in the town uncovered the stash and led to the arrest of four Chinese nationals.

The counterfeit drugs are thought to have originated in China, and were destined for the treatment of patients with erectile dysfunction, anxiety and weight loss, the Agency confirmed.

The news closely follows the MHRA and Novo Nordisk’s warning at the end of last week that fake insulin pen needles have infiltrated the UK market, as well as the seizure of £250,000 worth of phoney drugs in Stoke-on-Trent at the beginning of the month, illustrating the scope of the counterfeiting problem and that no aspect of medication is safe from this criminal activity.

Raising awareness
The Agency and other groups across Europe are working hard to fight the swell of fake drugs entering the supply chain. As just one example, the MHRA and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain announced last week that they have teamed up to help raise public awareness of the dangers of purchasing fake medicines via information ‘postcards’ in prescription bags.

And following the Middlesborough raids MHRA Head of Enforcement Mick Deats was again forced to warn the public of the dangers of counterfeit medicines. “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,” he stressed.