MHRA Cracks Down on Counterfeit Drugs, Seizes $500 Million Worth of Fake Meds

April 2, 2009
Angie Drakulich
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) seized nearly half a million pounds worth of counterfeit medicines on Mar. 26, 2009 in Middlesbrough, England, according to a MHRA press release.

The United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) seized nearly half a million pounds worth of counterfeit medicines on Mar. 26, 2009 in Middlesbrough, England, according to a MHRA press release. The enforcement team arrested four Chinese nationals allegedly involved in the sale and supply of counterfeit drugs.

“Enquiries suggest that the counterfeit medicines originated from China,” said MHRA’ Head of Enforcement Mick Deats in the release. The seized drugs were for erectile dysfunction, anxiety, and weight loss.

The UK and European Commission have stepped up their attacks on counterfeiting after counterfeit drug seizures increased throughout the European Union by nearly fivefold in 2005 alone (see back story, Report from Europe). GS1 UK, an independent supply-chain standard development organization, completed the EU’s Pharma Traceability Pilot program just a few months ago as part of these efforts. The EU pilot tracked 15 drugs in an effort to stress track-and-trace technology and to decrease the potential for counterfeiting (see back story, GS1 UK Successfully Completes Traceability Pilot). Also on the EC’s agenda is legislation to implement tighter auditing controls of active ingredients.