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Saturday 3 December 2016

Fake Viagra and sedatives among 750,000 pill haul in last year

An earlier HPRA seizure
An earlier HPRA seizure

Almost 750,000 fake pills were seized by authorities in the last year and 168 patients died while on legitimate drug treatments.

The national Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) enforcement activity led to the detention of the units - 56pc of which were sedatives, while erectile dysfunction and weightloss products were also seized.

The HPRA also said that a total of 102 medicine recalls were initiated in 2014.

Most worryingly, deaths of 168 patients while on drug treatments were reported to the country's medicines' watchdog last year. They were among 2,884 suspected adverse reaction reports to the HPRA.

In many cases patients had significant underlying illnesses and were treated with multiple medicines or surgery, which may have contributed to the outcome.

A spokeswoman said: "The majority of reports received in relation to the medicines tabulated were associated with medicines where the HPRA request or stress the need for close monitoring of patients and reporting of their experience with treatment."

There were 3,703 enforcement cases opened while 10 district court prosecutions were initiated.

Offences prosecuted included procurement and importation without legal authorisation, supply of prescription only medicines without prescription and wholesale of medicines without a wholesaler's authorisation.

addicts

Meanwhile, the head of a new confidential health service has warned that doctors, dentists and pharmacists may be secret drug addicts who are afraid to seek treatment.

Some health professionals abuse prescribed drugs like painkillers, said Dr Ide Delarg, who has long experience of treating GPs with health issues.

"Sometimes it starts with medicating for something minor and then escalates into dependency," Dr Delarg said. "The difference for health professionals is that they have access to these drugs through work."

She was speaking at the launch of new Practitioners Health Matters Programme which urges doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are suffering mental health problems to seek help from the confidential service.

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