NHS patients at risk from counterfeit drugs, MHRA

The UK's MHRA reported that drug counterfeiters may be targeting pharmaceutical wholesalers who supply the NHS, which could put patients at risk. The agency plans to publish its anti-counterfeiting strategy early this year.

Five incidences involving counterfeit drugs distributed to patients through the NHS have been identified in the past two years, and the agency is currently investigating 25 additional cases, twice as many as five years ago, news sources report.

When counterfeiters "penetrate the NHS supply system that is a direct risk to the public," noted MHRA's head of intelligence, Naeem Ahmed. He added that there is a "higher risk" when counterfeiters penetrate the supply system, but they "can make a lot of money" using this route compared to selling counterfeit product on the Internet.

The agency added that its anti-counterfeiting strategy will "set out priorities" for enforcement agencies, including a list of most commonly counterfeited drugs.

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