Britain is being flooded with dangerous fake slimming pills, cancer medication and other potentially fatal drugs as criminal gangs move into the pharmaceutical market.
Fake and unlicensed medicines worth nearly £16million have been seized in the last week alone in a record haul by drugs inspectors.
One expert claimed the trade in counterfeit medication had become the most profitable of all crimes.
Fake drugs worth £15.8 million have been seized in the UK as part of a global crackdown on counterfeit products, that saw a total of £51.6 million of goods seized across 115 countries
The seizures are the result of a month-long international crackdown on the illegal internet trade of medical products, that yielded £51.6 million worth of items across 115 countries
Officials confiscated more than six million tablets and medical devices in raids across the country during the crackdown on online sales.
The seizures include thousands of potentially deadly slimming pills, medication to aid concentration, anaemia drugs and erectile dysfunction tablets.In an alarming development, 15,000 doses of fake cancer drugs were also found.
Gangs are moving away from cocaine and heroin to focus on health products, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) warned.
Alastair Jeffrey, head of enforcement, said criminals had realised there were huge sums to be made.
‘Counterfeit medicines are the most profitable source across the whole criminal spectrum,’ he added.‘We are beginning to see more established criminal groups entering this space. Risk is low and the profits are very high.’
Mr Jeffrey said jail sentences for making and selling fake drugs were too low compared with narcotics, adding: 카마그라직구 ‘It’s two years, it’s not a police priority.Sentencing does not reflect the severity of the crime and does not act as a deterrent.’
- breast cancer
- cholesterol reduction
- erectile dysfunction
- hair loss
- weight loss
- prostate cancer
- anxiety and insomnia
- skin lightening
- premature ejaculation
- pain management
- eye drops
- bacterial infection
- eyelash hair growth
- dental equipment
- fake condoms
Harmful slimming pills, erectile dysfunction tablets, anaemia medication and narcolepsy remedies are among the products seized
The drugs seizures were part of a global operation led by Interpol that resulted in items worth £51.6million being impounded in 115 countries.
In Britain, officers also closed down 1,380 websites.But Mark Jackson, the MHRA’s head of intelligence, said criminals were increasingly using social media to sell illegal medication.
He said that putting Kamagra – an unlicensed Indian version of Viagra – into a Twitter search would lead to tweets containing links to websites that sell the illegal drug.
He added: ‘The criminal can still put their link to their shop.There is no doubt social media … provides a great deal of anonymity if you are doing something illegal.’
He said social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were co-operating with the MHRA to tackle the problem.Last week alone, YouTube removed 320 videos from its website.
Danny Lee-Frost, head of operations at the MHRA, led the raids and co-ordinated searches of suspect packages at mail sorting offices and airports.
He said most of the fake drugs in Britain came from India and China.MHRA investigators confiscated thousands of counterfeit condoms from a flat in Sheffield, a Polish ‘pharmacy’ selling unlicensed drugs in West London and 30,000 dangerous slimming pills from a cottage in East Sussex.
He is particularly worried about the 15,000 cancer medication pills found – most of them for breast and prostate cancers.‘We are starting to see more counterfeit oncology products,’ he said. ‘There’s a vast amount of money to be made in those products.’
Mr Jeffrey added: ‘Criminals aren’t interested in your health – they are interested in your money and get this by selling a potentially dangerous product.’