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Botox and fillers: ‘Thousands’ of unlicensed meds seized in Bolton raids

Morning raids in Greater Manchester yesterday saw officers seize large quantities of unlicensed medical products such as Botox and dermal fillers, the medicines watchdog has revealed.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) yesterday (July 13) announced that “thousands of unlicensed medical products” had been “seized in a morning of raids in Bolton”.

It said that its Criminal Enforcement Unit (CEU) had seized “a quantity of suspected unlicensed medical products”, including unlicensed versions of Botox, numbing agents and dermal fillers.

Read more: Man who made millions from illegally selling POMs online jailed for five years

Officers from the MHRA and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) undertook “coordinated raids” across three residential and four business premises in Bolton, Westhoughton and Leigh in Greater Manchester, it said.

Two women and a man were arrested as part of the operation that took place in yesterday’s “early hours”, it added. 

“Investigation ongoing”

“On the surface this may appear to be a victimless crime, but unlicensed medical products advertised and sold online can be potentially harmful to those who have undergone aesthetic procedures”, detective inspector James Coles from GMP’s Economic Crime Unit said.

Read more: Man convicted for making ‘fake’ drugs in secret lab for sale on ‘dark web’

He added that while the force has three people in custody, “an investigation remains ongoing” and GMP will “continue to investigate and eradicate this type of criminal activity from the area”.

Mr Coles encouraged “anyone with any information regarding this type of activity to get in touch with the police”, stressing that any reports will be “treated with the utmost seriousness and can be made in confidence”.

“Powerful and dangerous”

MHRA deputy director of criminal enforcement Andy Morling stressed that it is “illegal to advertise, sell or supply medicines such as these without the appropriate authorisation”.

“Medicines like these are powerful and dangerous in the wrong hands”, he said, adding that criminals trading them have “no regard” for people’s safety as well as breaking the law.

Mr Morling thanked GMP for its support with the operation, adding that the CEU “will continue to protect [people’s] health by disrupting this harmful and illegal trade”.

Read more: UK gang members jailed for part in illegal sale of prescription meds worth £3.7m

The news follows a spate of incidents regarding the illegal sale of prescription medicines, which most recently saw a man jailed for five years after he illegally sold more than £2 million in prescription medication from a website last month.

In May, a man claiming to have pharmacy qualifications was also convicted for making “fake” drugs in a secret lab for sale on the “dark web”.

In August last year, the MHRA vowed to “take appropriate action” against “dozens” of illegal websites posing as online pharmacies that sold prescription-only medication, reportedly uncovered by a media investigation.

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