Over one million units of fake and other illegal medicines were detained by the Health Products and Regulatory Authority (HPRA) last year.
According to the HPRA's Annual Report 2019, a total of 1,018,678 dosage units of fake and illegal medicines were detained, compared to 619,213 in 2018.
The most common fake or illegal products were sedatives, which accounted for 34% of all detained products. These were followed by erectile dysfunction medicines (28%) and anabolic steroids (12%).
"Working with our partners in An Garda Síochána and Revenue's Customs Service, we detained over one million dosage units of fake and illegal medicines coming into Ireland. We continue to urge members of the public not to use unverified and unregulated sources to buy prescription-only and illegal medicines, including over the internet," commented HPRA chief executive, Dr Lorraine Nolan.
The report noted that eight prosecutions were initiated in 2019 relating to the unauthorised supply of prescription medicines, including falsified anabolic steroids and erectile dysfunction products.
Meanwhile, the report also revealed that the HPRA received reports of 9,253 adverse reactions in relation to human medicines.
"Significant levels of reporting are particularly welcome, and we encourage healthcare professionals and the general public to report suspected side-effects and any safety and quality concerns via our website using the online report forms. This information contributes significantly to the ongoing monitoring of medicines safety on the Irish market," Dr Nolan said.
During 2019, the HPRA authorised 295 new human medicines for the Irish market through the national, mutual recognition and decentralised procedures. A further 138 medicines were authorised through the centralised route, which is co-ordinated by the European Medicines Agency.
The authority also recalled 125 human medicines during the year.
It also gave approval for 88 clinical trials of human medicines to commence in 2019.
Dr Nolan said that the HPRA continues to work hard to deal with the two major issues of Brexit and COVID-19.
"Working closely with the Department of Health, the HSE and stakeholders from right across the health sector, including manufacturers and distributors, we have and will continue to focus on ensuring minimum disruption to the supply and availability of medicines and medical devices for Irish patients," she added.
The Annual Report 2019 can be viewed here.
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