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HPRA expresses its concern at the significant increase in the number of illegal prescription medicines

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By Aidan Healy, Brian Ormond, Gary Rice & Niall Sexton


Published 26 April 2018


On 17 April 2018, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (the “HPRA”) expressed concern in relation to the "…significant increase in the number of illegal prescription medicines, intended for supply in Ireland, that were detained during 2017 and again warned the public of the risks that these unauthorised medicines pose to their health."

]The HPRA stated that almost 1 million (948,915) dosage units (tablets, capsules, vials, etc.) of falsified and other illegal medicines were detained by its enforcement unit in 2017.  This represented an increase of 40% when compared to 2016.

The HPRA reported that its 2017 figures show that:

  • It was another year of significant increase in the volume of anabolic steroids being detained. 449,411 dosage units were detained in 2017, compared to 109,006 units in 2016 and 38,049 units in 2015;
  • There was a further decrease in the number of sedative products detained; 222,470 last year, compared to 271,545 in 2016 and 726,164 in 2015;
  • The HPRA brought six prosecution cases in 2017 with a further six voluntary formal cautions issued during the year.

The HPRA press release can be found here. The HPRA has also published an advice leaflet for members of the public containing information on the dangers associated with buying prescription medicine online, which can be accessed here.