Three men and one woman have been sentenced in relation to the illegal online supply of prescription only and counterfeit medicines, including Viagra, following an undercover operation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
One man was sentenced to 12 months in prison on five counts involving conspiracy to sell or supply prescription only medicines, possession of counterfeit medicines in breach of trademarks, possession of methadone, a Class A controlled drug and supplying Diazepam, a Class C controlled drug. A woman was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 month on four counts involving conspiracy to supply prescription only medicines, possession of counterfeit medicines in breach of trademarks and supplying Diazepam, a Class C controlled drug. Additionally she was given a community service order of 18 months. A second man was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 18 months on three counts involving conspiracy to supply prescription only medicines and possession of Diazepam, a class C controlled drug. He was further ordered to attend a drug rehabilitation programme.
During the investigation, focused on the Ebbw Vale area of Gwent, an MHRA undercover operative purchased medicines over the internet from a third party based in Pakistan. Investigators found that those involved in this case received the packages of medication that were intended to be sent on to the undercover operative.
Searches of the homes of those involved uncovered stashes of counterfeit medication and generic prescription only medicine, including Viagra, Cialis, diazepam and methadone.
The court heard that the defendants acted as dropshippers – the medicines would be sent to them from abroad and they would send it on in smaller amounts to people in the UK. The aim was to minimise the number of importations and reduce the risks of the packages being stopped when they came into the country.
Nimo Ahmed, MHRA acting head of enforcement said: “The MHRA is committed to pursuing those involved in the illicit supply of medicines and taking action to ensure the public is protected. These individuals were involved in a concerted conspiracy to supply counterfeit medicine and showed a blatant disregard for public health.”