Press Release

Minister O’Malley warns against dangers of counterfeit medicines

Mr Tim O’Malley T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today warned that the trade in counterfeit medicines poses “a clear and present danger” to public health.

The Minister was speaking at the conference, “Action Against Counterfeit Medicines in Ireland”, organised by the Irish Patients Association.

The Minister said: “In recent years the threat posed by counterfeit medicines has become a clear and present danger to public health. The World Health Organisation has estimated that 30% of medicines supplied in developing countries are fake.

While Europe has so far remained largely safe from the threat posed by counterfeit medicines, it is essential that we do not become complacent about the potential dangers of this criminal trade. The safety of the patient must be our paramount concern.”

The Minister noted that close cooperation exists between the Irish Medicines Board, the agency responsible for the safety of medicines in Ireland, and other key agencies in the fight against counterfeit medicines including An Garda Siochana and An Post. However, it will be necessary to continue and enhance this cooperation to meet the threat posed by this type of crime.

The Minister also highlighted the dangers posed by the sale of medicines over the Internet. “Members of the public who purchase medicinal products over the Internet often do so without the benefit of consultation with a professional health care advisor.

While this is dangerous enough in itself, the danger is compounded by the fact that the product they are buying may well be a fake drug which can kill rather than cure.”