UK MHRA makes record seizure of experimental smart drugs

Warns of the potential dangers of buying medicines online

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has made the UK’s biggest ever single seizure of smart drugs, also known as cognitive enhancers or nootropics.

The haul included more than 20,000 units of 13 different types of cognitive enhancement medicines, worth approximately £200,000.

The raid saw seizures of noopept, phenylpiracetam, centrophenoxine, oxiracetam, sunifiram, citicoline and aniracetam, and illustrated the growing demand and variety of new active substances entering the marketplace.

The seizure also highlighted concerns about increasing experimentation among users, especially as one of the seized products, Sunifiram, has not been tested or subject to clinical trials involving humans.

Intelligence from the Norwegian Medicines Agency drew attention to the case after a number of packages were detained by Norwegian customs.

A full investigation was initiated after a UK source was identified and found to be selling the unlicensed Russian cognitive enhancement drug phenylpiracetam.

While it is not illegal to possess these medicines, sale and supply of a prescription-only or unlicensed medicine is an offence in this country.

With a growing number of people discussing and experimenting with these products, the MHRA is warning of the potential dangers of buying medicines online. A huge number of medicines bought via the Internet are counterfeit, substandard or adulterated, the Agency said.

MHRA Head of Enforcement, Alastair Jeffrey said: 'The idea that people are willing to put their overall health at risk in order to attempt to get an intellectual edge over others is deeply troubling. The fact of the matter is that if you are acquiring medicines over the Internet without a prescription then you are purchasing from an unknown, unregulated and ultimately an unlawful source.'