R126m of unregistered medicine believed to be Ivermectin seized at OR Tambo

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SAPS reported that they seized unregistered medicine, believed to be Ivermectin, with a market value of approximately R126 million.

The medicine, which was mostly found in tablet form, was found during an inspection of a cargo container sent to South Africa from India.

“Upon a compliance verification of the unregistered medicines by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), authorities found that the company that had imported the medicines into the country, had done so without the necessary written approval and authorization from the Regulatory Authority,” Colonel Athlenda Mathe says.

Colonel Athlenda Mathe says this has been the largest bust in the illegal importation of medicine this year.

In January 2021, a multidisciplinary team arrested a total of seven people for the illegal importation of unregistered medicine mostly found to be Ivermectin. One person was arrested at the King Shaka International Airport while the other six were arrested at OR Tambo International Aiport as previously reported by VK News.

Mathe stated that all seven accused have already appeared before the court and are currently out on bail.

“SAPS therefore draws the attention of pharmaceutical companies, including health experts to section 22(c) of the Medicines Act which clearly states that, anyone who wishes to import medicines into the country must have written authority from SAHPRA. It should be further noted that those who do not comply with the Act will be apprehended and brought before a court of law to answer to illegal dealing and/or importation of unregistered medicines,” Mathe adds.

Police says that while no arrests have been made, they are working through the Interpol office with authorities from India to determine the exact delivery address of the consignment.