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S$80,000 worth of illegal cough syrup, other medicine seized

S$80,000 worth of illegal cough syrup, other medicine seized

Seized tablets and cough syrup. (Photo: Health Sciences Authority, Singapore Police Force, Central Narcotics Bureau and Ministry of Health)

SINGAPORE: Thousands of dollars worth of codeine cough syrup and other medication was seized by the authorities on Tuesday (Mar 3), as part of a multi-agency operation into the illegal supply of medication.

Officers uncovered more than 125L of codeine cough syrup and 63,000 units of assorted medication, including cough suppressants and sleeping pills.

Some of the items were seized at a Golden Mile Complex office which was suspected of being used to manufacture and store cough syrup illegally, after authorities "laid an ambush".

"Two suspects were observed entering the office and soon after, one of the men exited the office pushing a trolley with bottles of cough syrup and assorted medicines," said the Health Sciences Authority, Singapore Police Force, Central Narcotics Bureau and Ministry of Health in a joint release. 

"The items were seized and both men were apprehended immediately."

Based on preliminary investigations, the items were intended to be sold illegally in Geylang, said the authorities.

Medicine found in an office at Golden Mile Complex. (Photo: Health Sciences Authority, Singapore Police Force, Central Narcotics Bureau and Ministry of Health)

Separately, seven people aged between 26 and 69 were arrested following raids at a coffee shop along Lorong 12 Geylang and a clinic at People's Park Complex.

All seven are currently assisting the Health Sciences Authority in its investigations. One of them is also being investigated by the Central Narcotics Bureau on suspicion of trafficking dihydrocodeine, a Class B controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

A doctor is assisting the Health Sciences Authority in its investigations over the illegal supply of medicines.

Medicine seized from Golden Mile Complex. (Photo: Health Sciences Authority, Singapore Police Force, Central Narcotics Bureau and Ministry of Health)

Codeine cough syrups are used medically as a cough suppressant. They are classified as pharmacy-only medicines and can only be supplied by a licensed pharmacist or a licensed medical practitioner.

The Health Sciences Authority has previously said cough syrup concoctions made in non-licensed facilities are dangerous and harmful to health, as they are produced under poor manufacturing conditions with no proper quality controls.

Anyone convicted of trafficking a Class B controlled drug faces a minimum of three years in jail and three strokes of the cane.

Anyone caught importing, manufacturing and/or supplying illegal health products could be jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$50,000, or both.

Source: CNA/nc(mi)

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