MHRA Seizes more than £25 Million of Counterfeit Medicine in Last Five Years as New Anti-counterfeiting Strategy Launches

As the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) launches its second anti-counterfeiting strategy, the UK medicines regulator reveals it has seized more than £25 million of counterfeit and stolen medicines in the last five years. This has contributed to a marked reduction in known incidents of counterfeit medical products entering the regulated UK supply chain.


The new strategy, the Falsified Medical Products Strategy 2012 2015, details measures that the MHRA will take to tackle counterfeit medicines and medical devices. It brings together its stakeholders and international partners to combine efforts in raising public awareness and carrying out enforcement policy.

The overall aim of the new strategy is to reduce the risks to patients and consumers in the UK from the threats posed by counterfeit medical products whilst increasing the pressure on those behind this illegal activity. It falls into three main areas centred around prevention, incident management and investigation.

Nimo Ahmed, MHRA acting Head of Enforcement said: The UK market for medicines is immense and is estimated to be worth around £8,000 million. Combating the real and present threat posed by counterfeit medical products continues to remain a priority for the MHRA. We are committed to working closely with international partners and providing leadership in dealing with this issue to protect public health and maintaining public confidence in the way we obtain our medical products

Since its first strategy the MHRA has achieved a number of successes in tackling counterfeit medical products.

In 2010 a co-ordinated international operation to tackle medicines being supplied illegally over the internet saw over two million doses being seized across the world, almost 500 websites taken down and 90 individuals arrested.

In 2011, in the largest such operation to date, over 13,500 illegal websites were taken down or suspended and 2.5 million doses of medicines were seized.

In March of this year a joint operation across Europe saw 300,000 doses of medicines seized. Most recently a confiscation order to the value of £14.4 million was made against a UK individual following his conviction for selling and supplying fake and unlicensed medicines.

The Falsified Medical products webpage

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