A series of raids by Police and other agencies on Eastern European shops in the Southampton area of the UK was the result of a ruling by officials that the sale of Tantum Rosa, which contains benzydamine hydrochloride, is illegal in the UK.
Back in January 2012 Digital Journal reported on the story of how Southampton, on the South Coast of the UK, had, according to an item on BBC Radio Solent by reporter Tristan Pascoe:
… become the first place in the UK where officials acknowledge that an Eastern European feminine hygiene product is being abused by people in order to experience a ‘legal high’ from its benzydamine hydrochloride ingredient.
The abuse of the product had been tentatively linked to the desecration of gravestones through vandalism in one of the city’s graveyards.
After hearing the radio report, the authorities, in the form of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the Office of Fair Trading as well as the local Police constabulary got together to investigate what could be done to prevent the abuse of the product continuing.
The outcome of their investigations was a series of raids on Eastern European shops in Southampton and other towns nearby on February 27, 2012, where stocks of Tantum Rosa were seized on the grounds that the authorities class it as a medicine which has not been licensed for sale in the UK therefore it cannot be sold over the counter without a prescription.
A spokesman for the authorities, speaking on Julian Clegg’s BBC Radio Solent morning programme the day after the raids informed listeners that there were also concerns because the product is labelled in Polish and non-Polish speakers who get hold of it would not know what is in it.
While no-one was arrested in yesterday’s raids, retailers were told that selling it in the UK was illegal and were warned that they would be prosecuted if they continued to do so. The authorities are hopeful that Tantum Rosa will now disappear completely from shop shelves as a result.