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Probe ordered into medicine fraud from Turkey.

Byline: Jean Christou

THE PHARMACEUTICAL Services and the police have launched an investigation into suspected fraudulent importation of medicines believed to have come from Turkey.

A spokesman at the Pharmaceutical Services confirmed reports that a large importer, who has not yet been named, had allegedly falsified documents of approval from the Health Ministry allowing the drugs into Cyprus.

Reports suggested the case concerns anti-inflammatory drugs, but the spokesman said he could not confirm the type of medicine involved because the case was under investigation.

There are two main issues connected with the case, according to the spokesman. One is the fact that official documents may have been falsified, and the other is that the drugs were manufactured in an unchecked plant in a third country where EU controls could not be exercised.

However, he said there was no danger to consumers because the company in question was actually reputable, and in any case the shipment of the drug is still at customs.

The only concern is that the importer may have done something similar in the past, in which case the records would have to be checked, he said.

C[pounds sterling]The main case centres on whether there has been a deviation of what was originally approved,C[yen] said the spokesman. C[pounds sterling]ItCOs a matter of whether the correct procedure was followed or not.C[yen]

An eagle-eyed employee at the Pharmaceutical Services spotted that some of the documents submitted for approval to import the drug did not appear kosher.

An internal investigation was immediately launched.

C[pounds sterling]We forwarded the issue to the Drugs Council who decided to send it to the police,C[yen] the spokesman said.

C[pounds sterling]ItCOs not that the drugs were manufactured in a third country but there must be documents approving them. This wasnCOt done.C[yen]

Essentially the manufacturer would have to provide documents that recommended guidelines have been followed, and they would have to have the approval of the Pharmaceutical Services in Cyprus, but the importer had falsified a previous letter of approval in his own favour, the spokesman said.

C[pounds sterling]I donCOt think there is an issue of public health. ItCOs a matter of procedure,C[yen] he said.

Copyright A[umlaut] Cyprus Mail 2008

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Jul 31, 2008
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