Seizures of illegal drugs increased 58% last year, regulator says

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has expressed concern about a 58% increase in the number of illegal drugs detained last year.

Over 1.6 million units of falsified or illegal drugs were detained in 2020, with the largest categories of illegal drugs being sedatives (36%), erectile dysfunction drugs (30%), pain relievers ( 9%) and anabolic steroids (6 percent).

Some 583,805 units of sedative drugs and 484,846 doses of erectile dysfunction drugs were seized. There were 370,000 erectile dysfunction tablets held in a single seizure.

The HPRA said there were 56,876 units of Covid-19 drugs held, “the majority of which were related to traditional Chinese medicine not approved or licensed for use in Ireland.”

Meanwhile, 482 websites, e-commerce listings and / or social media pages were changed or closed in the last year.

Three lawsuits were also initiated in connection with the importation or distribution of anabolic steroid products and eleven voluntary formal warnings were issued.

Dr Lorraine Nolan, CEO of HPRA, said the year-over-year increase in the number of illicit drugs detected and detained is “of great concern”.

“The Internet is a major outlet for legitimate purchases such as food, clothing, and electronics, and people may not realize that sourcing prescription drugs online is illegal and the sources behind these sites. can be bogus, or worse, criminal networks, ”Dr. Nolan mentioned.

“Monitoring websites, online marketplace advertisements and social media sites throughout the year to identify illegal sales of illicit drugs is a key part of our work to protect consumers.

“We are also seriously concerned that a growing number of people are unaware of the potentially significant health risks they take by purchasing potent prescription drugs online without medical supervision, rather than under the care of their doctor or pharmacist.

“While in many cases those who shop online at best may simply waste their money on fake products, including counterfeit products, at worst they can take very serious health risks. “

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