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Thousands of illicit medicines seized in Manchester


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These include powerful opioid painkillers and antidepressants, as well as unlicensed versions of erectile dysfunction drugs

The Criminal Enforcement Unit (CEU) of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) seized a large quantity of suspected illegally traded medicines, including powerful prescription-only medicines, during raids conducted at two residential and two business premises across North Manchester.

Officers from the MHRA and Greater Manchester Police carried out searches across two residential addresses in Oldham and Cheetham in the early hours of Wednesday (29 November), and arrested a man in his 20s on “suspicion of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs, breaches of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 and money laundering.”

They also seized thousands of illegal medicines from two business addresses in Bury and Miles Platting, including powerful opioid painkillers and antidepressants, as well as unlicensed versions of erectile dysfunction drugs.

MHRA Deputy Director of Criminal Enforcement, Andy Morling said: “Medicines like these are powerful and dangerous in the wrong hands, potentially leading to serious adverse health consequences. The criminals trading in these products are not only breaking the law, they also have no regard for your safety.”

He warned the public that advertising, selling or supplying medicines without the appropriate authorisation is illegal, and that products or any other powerful medicines being sold on social media or elsewhere online are “unlikely to be legitimate” and could be “extremely dangerous.”

Andy appealed to the people to help the MHRA take action to stop these criminals by reporting concerns to them through the Yellow Card scheme.

“Our Criminal Enforcement Unit will continue working to protect your health by disrupting this harmful and illegal trade. We’re grateful to our partners in Greater Manchester Police, for helping in our efforts to do this today,” he added.

The MHRA has been a dedicated partner of Operation Vulcan in tackling the supply of illicit prescription medication in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, and together they have seized more than 1.5 million tablets over the last year, said Jen Kelly, Detective Chief Inspector of Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Vulcan.

Jen has cautioned that illicit prescription medication can have harmful and even fatal consequences, and urged anyone with information about illicit supply to share it with local police force “so they can act on it and keep your community safe.”

Be careful when buying medicines online and do not self-prescribe. If you have a concern about your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and if medicines are prescribed, obtain them from a legitimate source, the MHRA has advised.


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