LONDON May 22 Law enforcement agents have
arrested 237 people worldwide in a 10-day crackdown on fake
drugs, resulting in the seizure of counterfeit and unlicensed
medicines worth 18.6 million pounds ($31.4 million), Britain's
healthcare watchdog said.
The haul of 8.4 million doses of medicines included
potentially harmful slimming pills, controlled drugs such as
diazepam, anabolic steroids and anti-impotence pills.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
(MHRA), which was responsible for seizing products worth 8.6
million pounds, said on Thursday that the Interpol-coordinated
operation was conducted between May 11 and 21.
The crackdown also targeted 10,603 websites, leading them to
be closed down or suspended through having their domain name or
payment facilities removed.
"The medicines recovered during these raids were being held
in appalling conditions, such as a dirty old building with
broken windows, with medicines lying on the floor in bin bags,"
MHRA Head of Enforcement Alastair Jeffrey said in a statement.
"Criminals involved in the illegal supply of medicines
through the internet aren't interested in your health; they are
interested in your money."
India was the source of 72 percent of the illicit medicines
seized in Britain, while China accounted for 11 percent, the
($1 = 0.5925 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Pravin Char)