MHRA seized over two million illegal doses worth £5 million this year


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The government agency’s Operation Pangea completes 15 years in 2023

The MHRA’s Criminal Enforcement Unit (CEU), working with other law enforcement partners, has seized more than two million “illegally traded medicines” this year, with a total value of £5 million.

The products confiscated in the UK were prescription-only medicines including anti-depressants, pain medication and human growth hormones.

The MHRA launched an initiative, Operation Pangea, 15 years ago to combat “illegal internet trade in medical” products.

Andy Morling, the Deputy Director of Criminal Enforcement of MHRA, spoke about Operation Pangea’s 15-year anniversary.

“Fifteen years ago, the MHRA started Operation Pangea, combining our knowledge and resources with those of international partners to disrupt and bring to justice the criminal gangs responsible for selling medicines illegally and causing harm around the world.

He said: “We’re proud to see how Operation Pangea has grown from a small collaboration into a powerful example of what can be achieved through partnerships working to tackle this kind of offending.”

The first operation of Op Pangea took place in November 2008 where over 1000 packs of unlicensed medicines were seized in the UK on a single day.

It has grown into a huge global initiative, working in coordination with Interpol, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and other 89 countries, especially for this year’s operation.

Moreover, the Yellow Card Scheme introduced by MHRA enables them to monitor safety concerns such as suspected side effects or adverse incidents involving healthcare products.


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