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R6 million worth of tablets seized at ORTIA
2021/01/30

Media Statement issued by the South African Police Service

PRETORIA - The Integrated Multi-Disciplinary law enforcement strategy in place at the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) has once again proven to be successful.

This after the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs & Excise officials apprehended foreign nationals entering South Africa with R6 million worth of tablets suspected to be Ivermectin.

The South African Police Service (SAPS), and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority Law Enforcement Unit (SAHPRA) were thereafter involved in the detention and the investigation process as the Multi-Disciplinary team continues to clamp down on the illegal importation of medicines at the port of entry.

In the past two weeks, the team’s collaboration has led to the arrest of six people and the confiscation of unregistered medicine worth a market value of R6 million.  The unregistered medicine which are mainly in a tablet form are believed to have been imported for sale purposes and would have been utilized in the treatment of the Covid-19 virus.

In all incidents, the six people which include two women and four men who are of Indian descent, had just entered into the country from India.

All six have already appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrates Court and face charges relating to the contravention of the Medicines and related Substances Act 101 of 1965.

In the latest arrests, three people were arrested on Thursday, 28 January 2021. Of the three, two are female and one is male. The first female suspect was found to be in possession of 178 200 tablets while the second female suspect was found to be in possession of 66 400 tablets. The male suspect was found in possession of 49 200 tablets. All unregistered medicines are worth R5 million.

All three suspects appeared before the Kempton Park Magistrates Court on Friday, 29 January 2021. Their case has been postponed to the 1st of February 2021 for a formal bail application.

In the first case that was reported at ORTIA on Wednesday, 13 January 2021, the team pounced on a man who was found to be in possession of a little over 24 000 Invermectin tablets worth a market value of R720 000. This suspect is currently out on bail.

The second incident took place on Tuesday, 26 January 2021.  On this day, two men were arrested after they were found to be in possession of a variety of unregistered medicines.

In this case, the first male suspect was found to be in possession of 18 085 Ivermectin tablets worth a market value of R552,550.

The second man was found to be in possession of Diclofenac sodium tablets, Chlorpheniramine maleate tablets, Amoxycilin tablets worth a market value of R25 000.

Both men were arrested and appeared before the Kempton Park Magistrates Court and their case was postponed to the 1st of February 2021 for a formal bail application.

All six suspects have been charged for being in possession of unregistered medicines without authorization and importing medicines without a license from the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

According to section 22(c) of the Medicines Act, anyone who wishes to import medicines into the country must have written authorization from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). Members of the public are therefore reminded that those who are found to be in contravention of this law will be apprehended and brought before a court of law.

Ends

Enquiries:
Colonel Athlenda Mathe
082 040 8808

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Website: www.saps.gov.za

 


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