Almost one million units of illegal medicines were detained by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) last year.
According to its annual enforcement data the HPRA detained some 940,000 dosage units of falsified and other illegal medicines in 2022. The Authority warned of the “serious health dangers” posed by sourcing prescription medicines online and from unauthorised sources.
In 2022, the most significant categories of illegal products detained included sedatives (26 per cent), anabolic steroids (22 per cent), erectile dysfunction medicines (9 per cent), analgesics (7 per cent), and stimulants (5 per cent).
According to Ms Grainne Power, Director of Compliance with the HPRA, the 2022 figures highlight again the risks people are taking when attempting to purchase prescription medicines online.
“When you acquire medicines from unregulated sources, you simply have no idea what you are getting,” said Ms Power.
“This isn’t merely about people wasting money on falsified or counterfeit products. It is also about the very real health dangers of significant side effects, of using a product without supervision, where there is no guarantee of what it contains, and of experiencing interactions with other medicines being taken.”
She added that the “internet is a major channel in the supply of illegal prescriptions medicines into Ireland”.
“We know that the sources behind these sites can be bogus, or worse, criminal networks. The monitoring of websites, online marketplace advertisements and social media sites throughout the year to identify illegal sales of medicines is a key part of our work to protect consumers.”
The HPRA stressed that people in Ireland should only obtain their medicines through recognised and regulated sources.