Enforcement officers from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) recently participated in Operation LASCAR-ANCORD organised by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and Border Force at Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre.
More than 2,500 parcels were identified as containing veterinary medicines, mainly flea and worming treatments for companion animals, destined for the USA.
Upon investigation, over 6,700 products, with an estimated retail value of £200,000, were found to be illegal and subsequently seized by VMD inspectors.
The parcels were supplied by several pet supplier websites distributing from an address in Shropshire.
The medicines were seized under Regulation 31 (Exports) of the Veterinary Seized Packages Medicines Regulations. This regulation states that no person may export a veterinary medicinal product for use in another country unless that product may be lawfully supplied or administered there.
Kimberly Homer-Theodore, a VMD enforcement officer, said that included in the haul were a variety of flea and wormer treatments for companion animals, such as Seresto, Hart Gard, Frontline, and Bravecto, which were manufactured in South Africa, Australia, and the UK.
“So far, we have identified 12 websites worldwide involved in these consignments,” she said. “We work with many enforcement authorities at home and abroad sharing intelligence and investigating illegal activities, which can result in prosecution of anyone carrying out illegal activities in the UK.
“We also have other tools including serving enforcement notices, seizing evidence and issuing police cautions.”
Overall, Ms Homer-Theodore said, this was a hugely successful operation.
“We must acknowledge that this is not a victimless crime,” she said. “The financial loss to consumers who unwittingly bought these products may be thousands of pounds.”