Bulk orders of diazepam have fallen by 64% following a crackdown on prescription-only medicines (POMs) appearing on the black market by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
According to the MHRA’s analysis of large-scale orders for diverted medicines, bulk orders of nitrazepam were down by 24% between January and May 2017, compared with the same period in 2016, while trading in temazepam had fallen by 20% and orders for zolpidem were 14% lower.
In a statement, the MHRA said it was currently running 17 active investigations into illegal selling of POMs, and 44 arrests had been made so far.
In January 2018, it was announced that five pharmacists had been suspended by the General Pharmaceutical Council following the increase in enforcement activity by the MHRA.
Alastair Jeffrey, head of enforcement at the MHRA, said: “It is a serious criminal offence to sell medicines outside of the regulated supply chain and the latest figures show our unabated efforts to identify and prosecute criminals are having an effect.”