Saturday, January 14, 2006

Black-market bird flu drug seized in raids

Government investigators have carried out raids to dismantle a multi-million-pound international black market in fake and stolen versions of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

The world’s biggest seizure of suspect Tamiflu took place last week in London, where officers from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confiscated 5,000 illegally imported packets of the drug worth an estimated £500,000.

Separately, the MHRA is investigating a company based in Greater Manchester that has been advertising cheap antiviral drugs under the name Tamiflu with a 1,500% mark-up. The agency began its inquiries after being passed information by The Sunday Times.

The raids come amid rising concern over the spread of avian flu. The Department of Health is to commission an advertising agency to spend £350,000 making a television advertisement to be shown if bird flu starts to spread between humans. It will warn people how to avoid infection.

Times Online
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