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Counterfeit Drug Sting Turns Up Erectile And Heart Drugs

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Counterfeit Drug Sting Turns Up Erectile And Heart Drugs

Wellington, Oct 15 NZPA - Drugs used for the treatment of heart disease and erectile disfunction were among the medicines intercepted by customs during a week-long global operation targeting the online sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals,

New Zealand and over 40 other countries took part in Operation Pangea III, carried out in the week from October 5, which involved police, customs and medicine regulators from around the world.

During the week the New Zealand Customs Service intercepted over 400 consignments suspected of containing medicines and referred them to Medsafe for further examination.

A total of 34 consignments were seized immediately by Medsafe because they were not labelled or were known to contain "hidden" ingredients and a further 153 have been detained by Medsafe to allow importers the opportunity to consult a New Zealand health professional authorised to prescribe prescription medicines.

Manager of Medsafe's compliance management branch, Derek Fitzgerald said the operation highlighted the risks consumers faced when purchasing medicines online.

"Medicines obtained from these sources are likely not to have been assessed and approved by Medsafe or by any other reputable authority with respect to their quality, safety and efficacy, and so may pose a serious risk to health," Mr Fitzgerald said.

"We strongly discourage the practice of self-diagnosis and self-medicating for conditions requiring treatment with medicines only available after consultation with a healthcare professional," he said.

The medicines intercepted by customs were imported from 35 countries and included drugs used for the treatment of heart disease, erectile dysfunction, birth control and hair loss.

As part of the operation, customs, with the assistance of Medsafe, conducted intensified screening of all mail entering New Zealand.

The operation resulted in arrests across the globe and the seizure of thousands of potentially harmful medicines.

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