Police swoop across Spain, 13 doctors among 23 people arrested, one in Majorca

The Guardia Civil yesterday swooped on a criminal organisation which has been illegally producing and selling medicine to cancer and AIDS patients in certain parts of Spain, including Majorca and overseas. The police operation was carried out in ten cities yesterday and the Ministry for Health set up three hot-lines, 91-596-10-89; 91-596-10-90 and 91-596-10-91, for anyone who may have come into contact with the illegal medical products BIO-BAC and INMUBOBIOL. A total of 23 people have been arrested, one in Majorca, including thirteen doctors, three homeopaths, a pharmacist, a lawyer and four chemists who worked at an underground laboratory, which was also shut down by police. The Guardia Civil first started its investigation a few months back when it was informed that a laboratory on the outskirts of Madrid was illegally producing and selling two medicines. Detectives then discovered that doctors and pharmacists were also involved, primarily prescribing and selling the illegally produced medicines. The doctors were advising seriously ill patients to either contact the pharmaceutical company or purchase the drugs via a determined website. The drugs were then dispatched by a courier service in order to avoid any possible checks. It was via the internet and in person, that the organisation was selling the medicines to Saudi Arabia, Central and South America. Members of the group, believed to have been operating for the past two or three years, were also trying to persuade clients in Saudi Arabia into investing in the production and marketing of the medicine. Police sources said yesterday that on various occasions, receptionists dealing with the order calls varied the strength of the doses before being finally dispatched to the patient. At the moment the Guardia Civil are unsure as to how many patients have fallen victim to the organisation and come into contact with the two illegally produced drugs. The Ministry for Health advised all patients taking the drugs to stop immediately and seek specialist medical advice. Police stormed a total of 21 houses in ten cities; four pistols, a revolver and 30.000 packets of the suspect drugs were seized. The Guardia Civil, also removed biological material from the illegal laboratory where packing and labelling machines were also found. Yesterday afternoon, deputy director of the Medical Safety Board, José Ramón Palop, said that neither of the two illegal products had led to the death of any patients, although a complaint about the drug BIO-BAC has been filed, however it is believed the patient died after taking too large a dose than prescribed.

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