November 27, 2023: Canadian gangs export fentanyl, RCMP says

Major Stories

RCMP authorities say Canadian gangs are exporting fentanyl. Costa Rica shuts down a domestic fentanyl pill operation. The U.K. bans 15 nitazenes after a large pill bust.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Serious and Organized Crime and Border Integrity Unit reported that criminal gangs in Canada are not just producing fentanyl for domestic use, but are also exporting it to other countries, including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Costa Rican authorities and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration disrupted fentanyl operations in the central part of the country, seizing over a thousand fentanyl pills, shutting down a laboratory, and arresting four people.

The U.K. formally banned 15 additional synthetic opioids, classified as nitazenes, a month after law enforcement raided London addresses and seized 150,000 nitazene tablets, a pill press, £68,000 in cash and cryptocurrency, and other drugs and equipment. The incident is one of several in the U.K. over the last three years.

Close up of a counterfeit oxycocet bottle seized in Toronto, June 2020 (Source: OPP Handout)

International News

U.K. authorities warned about fake semaglutide and recalled lubricating eye gels. News about fake medicine in Kenya, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.

In a warning about fake Ozempic and Saxenda, Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reported seizing 369 potentially fake Ozempic pens in the first ten months of 2023. A recent article about the black market semaglutide trade shared the story of a U.K. woman who received a fake Ozempic pen filled with 14 to 16 units of insulin. She lost consciousness and suffered a seizure after injecting herself, and had to be hospitalized.

The MHRA also recalled specific batches of lubricating eye gels because of possible bacterial contamination.

Four Sri Lankan health ministers were arrested in connection with the purchase and distribution of counterfeit human immunoglobulin and two other drugs from an unregistered company. The counterfeit medicine caused adverse reactions in patients at several hospitals.

Kenyan authorities warned about two batches of counterfeit medicine falsely labeled as Truvada, an HIV prevention drug.

Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control warned that a batch of counterfeit injectable Meronem, an antibiotic, had been found in circulation.

Eye products recalled by the U.K.'s MHRA in November (Manufacturer's Field Safety Notice)