A Korean manufacturer of psychiatric drugs has been caught out in an investigation by authorities in Australia after an undercover investigation.
According to a report in The Australian, Australian police officers and Australian Customs officials visited a Melbourne warehouse in March and seized an undisclosed amount of psychiatric medications from the facility.
The company, K-Pens, which manufactures drugs to treat psychosis and depression, said in a statement that it had no knowledge that its drugs were being used for the purpose of committing crimes.
K-Peds’ statement said the company was cooperating with authorities.
“As K-pens is currently in the process of implementing the investigation, we are unable to provide further comment,” it said.
The Australian Government said the drugs seized from the K-pen facility were of “limited” use, and “should not be considered to be in any way in line with Australia’s domestic or international legal obligations.”
K-pen’s CEO, Mark Breen, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the investigation and “deepened our efforts” to prevent drug trafficking.
“This is a very disappointing development for K-Pen,” Breen told Reuters.
“We are working with the Australian authorities to identify and remove any remaining counterfeit products and bring them into compliance with Australian law,” he said.
“In the meantime, we strongly urge any consumers who may have purchased any of these products from our premises to immediately report them to their local police.”KPens said it was working with Australian authorities and will provide an update when it has more information.
Australian Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said the incident highlights the need for strong oversight of drug-related products, including mental health and substance abuse treatments.
“Drug traffickers exploit people’s desperation to make a quick buck and often make these products, which are dangerous and can lead to serious and even deadly consequences,” he told reporters.
“The Australian government will continue to work with the United States to strengthen its laws to protect Australian consumers from illicit drugs and to prosecute and deter those who abuse the supply chains that support their illegal activities.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott also weighed in, calling for tougher penalties for those who peddle dangerous drugs.
“I urge the Australian Government to adopt stronger penalties for drug traffickers who attempt to evade the Australian regulatory regime and continue to sell dangerous and harmful substances to unsuspecting Australians,” he tweeted.
Australian law enforcement agencies have taken other steps to address counterfeit drugs, including placing warnings on their websites and increasing the amount of time they require consumers to report suspected fraudulent sales.KPENS was founded in 2010 in the Netherlands by Breen and former K-Mart employee Peter Van Der Merwe.
It has since grown into one of the world’s largest psychiatric drugs makers, with revenues of around $4 billion in 2015.