Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

£25k of illegal Viagra seized during raids in sex shops crackdown

Officials have swooped on Belfast's sex shops, clearing £25,000 worth of illegally sold Viagra and other unregulated medicines from their shelves.

Three adult shops were paid a visit yesterday as part of an ongoing investigation into sex drugs being sold illegally.

The crackdown resulted in the seizure of significant quantities of erectile dysfunction pills on open sale in the shops.

More than 5,000 unlicensed tablets worth £25,000 were seized during the inspections.

UUP councillor Jim Rodgers welcomed the raids.

"There's far too much of this business going in Belfast," he said.

"We want good shops in the capital, we do not want people involved in this sort of stuff – it's illegal and it's wrong.

"It drives people away from Belfast and although this type of trading happens worldwide, it shouldn't be happening on the streets of Belfast."

The councillor said he wasn't shocked by the large amounts of drugs recovered.

"I wasn't really surprised as it's been rumoured for some time, it's just about getting the evidence and holding those responsible to account," he said.

"I gave a guy a lift home recently and he told me these shops had been selling these drugs for quite a while."

Mr Rodgers said the man works in Royal Avenue and said there had been serious suspicions for some time Viagra was being sold on the city's shelves.

Peter Moore, senior medicines enforcement officer with the Medicines Regulatory Group at the Department of Health, said: "These seizures demonstrate that we are committed to pursuing those involved in the illicit supply of prescription medicines and taking action to ensure the public is protected.

"If you buy a medicine from unregulated high street sources like these, you very well may be receiving a product that is unlicensed, fake or could react adversely with any other medication you take.

One man told the Belfast Telegraph he had bought sex pills from Belfast shops to avoid a visit to his GP.

"It was easy and I didn't want to go to a doctor," he said.

The 27-year-old was buying Kamagra, a dangerous illegal sex drug which has similar effects to Viagra.

FACTFILE

Sildenafil citrate, better known as Viagra, is used in treating erectile dysfunction. It works by relaxing muscles in the walls of the blood vessels and increases the blood flow to the affected area. Many celebrities and politicians have appeared in TV, radio and print ads to help sell the product, including former US Senator Bob Dole and footballer Pele. Viagra or other oral erectile dysfunction pills can't protect against STIs.

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