In a major international crackdown on the illicit Internet trade in pharmaceuticals, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), along with the Metropolitan Police, have arrested 13 people and raided 16 addresses in connection with the case.
"We have recovered a range of medicines being supplied without prescriptions and stored in unacceptable conditions, by people who are not qualified to dispense medicines," MHRA's acting head of enforcement Nimo Ahmed said in a statement.
"Any online pharmacy that supplies "prescription only" medicine without evidence of a prescription is committing an offence," he added.
Working closely with the MHRA, the Metropolitan Police Service and the Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU), also took action against the unlawful sale and distribution of pharmaceuticals online.
More than 12,000 generic top level domains and sub domains have been suspended, followed by a further 500 domains. In addition, some 600 web pages which were involved in supplying unlicensed and counterfeit pharmaceuticals have also been suspended.
The MHRA, in collaboration with the UK Border Agency, seized more than one million doses of illegal medicine worth approximately £2 million, including 52,000 doses of counterfeit pills.
"This action is being taken as part of our continuing efforts to reduce the harm caused to the UK economy and to UK citizens by those making use of the Internet to commit crime. We support the MHRA's International Internet Week of Action and appreciate the steps taken by others to support our efforts," Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie, was quoted as saying in a release by the MHRA.
"The massive haul detected by our officers during this week of action makes it clear just how seriously we take the smuggling of fake and unlicensed medicines," the UK Border Agency's Operations Manager (Coventry International Hub), Chris Bagley said.
A week-long international crackdown, called Operation Pangea IV, which ran between Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 resulted in 55 people being arrested or placed under investigation, worldwide. It saw an estimated 13,500 illegal online pharmacy websites being shut down. Furthermore, over £5 million worth of counterfeit and illegal medicines have been seized across the globe.