Thousands of unlicensed medicines seized during shop raids in Boston

Danny Lee-Frost with the medicines seized in Boston
Danny Lee-Frost with the medicines seized in Boston

Three shops in Boston were raided by police and government agency officials – with thousands of unlicensed medicines seized.

The Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and police swooped on a series of Eastern European shops on Thursday.

In three shops they found foreign medicines that are unlicensed for sale in the UK and should be sold by pharmicists.

Two shops were given warnings and advised to return the stock. However SAM Supermarket, on West Street, had thousands of goods seized, filling five bags, because it had already received a warning.

Head of operations at MHRA Danny Lee-Frost said: “Polish medicines imported into the UK and sold in Polish language packs have not been approved for sale in the UK and cannot be traded lawfully on the UK market.

“We urge people not to buy medicines that are not labelled in English.

“Medicines are not ordinary consumer products. There are also specific health concerns with certain medicines that should be prescribed and dispensed under the supervision of a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a pharmacist.

“Anyone who self-medicates and buys these medicines from shops that are not registered pharmacies could be endangering their health.”

The agency was alerted to the medicine following a coroner’s report into the death of a Latvian national who had bought an unlicensed drug from a shop for a stomach ulcer without first seeing a GP.

An agency spokesman said evidence showed many migrants were not visiting health services and instead going to local stores that sold medicines which are often available freely in other parts of Europe.

The medication taken during Thursday’s raids will be destroyed, but the spokesman said no court action would be taken against the store owners on this occasion.