major drug thefts took place in Italy among 2011 and 2014, with drug treatments entering deliver chains throughout Europe. Photograph: Voisin/Phanie/Rex/Shutterstock

The medical government in Britain have launched an internal inquiry after hazardous medicines for common conditions were stolen from Italian hospitals, bought to UK pharmacies and probably reached sufferers.

Criminal gangs connected to the mafia infiltrated the NHS deliver chain in 2014, which resulted in prescription drug treatments for prostate most cancers, epilepsy and schizophrenia being imported into the UK.

More than 10,000 gadgets of stolen tablets had arrived in the UK by 2014, consistent with research by using Channel four Dispatches, with four sorts of a dangerous medicinal drug sold to pharmacies.

The drug treatments have been not counterfeit, but given the time they spent outdoor of the regulated deliver chain, they were classed as “falsified”. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which did not alert the broader public at the time, said it believed the threat to public fitness become low considering they had been valid medicines.

However, all through a review of its 2014 research into reports of stolen drug treatments bought for use inside the UK, the regulator discovered that information regarding the probe have been incomplete – prompting an inner review to make certain it became accurately protective the regulated supply chain.

“In 2014, following reports of drugs being stolen in Italy and bought to the UK, we undertook research and acted to ensure products on the UK market had been secure,” stated MHRA chief government Ian Hudson. “We acquired this data more than a yr after the thefts occurred.

“In addition to this case, the MHRA has seized falsified drugs from the regulated deliver chain best nine instances within the ultimate decade, and there’s no proof any of these drug treatments made it to patients.”

A well-known excessive road pharmacy chain said to have stocked and prescribed the drug treatments is to be named on Monday by using Dispatches.

The first indication that the stolen Italian drugs had entered the United Kingdom’s supply chain got here in March 2014, while a German pharmaceutical wholesaler bought breast cancer capsules which were found to were tampered with and had ended up useless.

The Italian regulator investigated some of the principal thefts between 2011 and 2014 that noticed hundreds of vital drugs for extreme ailments pass missing, later getting into legitimate scientific deliver chains across Europe.

It is thought that the MHRA wrote to wholesalers and asked them to ensure the affected products did now not enter the deliver chain and to quarantine such drugs if important and call those they provided requesting they do the equal.

The MHRA does now not maintain prescribing facts and has no direct evidence that sufferers received these medicines. However, it acknowledged that “there is an opportunity that some of these drugs reached patient degree”.

Former Liberal Democrat fitness minister Norman Lamb led calls for an assessment. “People, first of all, want to be instructed that they’ll have obtained drugs that came thru an unlawful course,” he said. “And what I locate wonderfully is that there hasn’t been openness approximately this having occurred.”

All drug treatments inside the UK have carried a completely unique barcode on account that February 2019, which lets in their veracity to be authenticated after the MHRA applied the EU Falsified Medicines Directive.

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