The Irish Medicines Board said its enforcement unit seized 919,965 pharmaceutical products last year, a 20% increase on the previous year.
The seizures were made in cooperation with Revenue’s customs’ service and gardaí.
Just over half of the illegal and counterfeit products were sedatives — 458,084.
The sedatives’ seizures, according to the IMB’s 2013 review, showed an 85% increase over the 2012 confiscation figure of 246,951 units.
Almost 20% of the unauthorised drugs —174,793 — were weight loss products, with 101,996 erectile dysfunction tablets making up 11% of the total seizure.
In the review of its work last year, the IMB pointed out 102 clinical trials were approved for Ireland, an increase of over 30%. It said the growth in trials “positively reflects” increasing research and innovation conducted in Ireland.
Key areas of interest continue to be cancer and diseases of the blood.
While the IMB received 10 applications for clinical investigations of medical devices last year, the number of such investigations was lower than expected.
Meanwhile, there were 752 new human medicines authorised last year, a decrease on previous years.
The medicines watchdog said the fall in new drug authorisations reflects a trend throughout the EU last year that has been attributed to a number of major drugs coming off patent.
There has been a slight increase in the assessment and evaluation of adverse reactions to human medicines.
There were 2,835 adverse reactions last year, compared to 2,757 in 2012 and 2,784 in 2011.
The IMB has being playing a leading role in the introduction of interchangeable medicines in Ireland so pharmacists can offer cheaper alternatives to patients.
Last year, it published 11 active substances deemed interchangeable that represent over 580 medicines.
It is currently working through a further 29 substances prioritised for substitution by the Department of Health, due to their cost and volume of use.
Next month, the IMB’s name will be changed to the Health Products Regulatory Authority.
IMB chief executive Pat O’Mahony said the organisation was now responsible for a wide range of health products and related health functions.
Irish Medicines Board 2013 performance highlights.
- 313 inspections and audits.
- 774 quality defects reported or identified.
-3,932 enforcement investigations initiated.
- 2,835 suspected adverse reactions to human medicines — 3% increase. - 272 suspected adverse reactions to veterinary medicine — 11% increase.