A 58-year-old man has been sentenced to 16 weeks in prison for the sale and supply of an unlicensed erection dysfunction medicine containing four times the maximum dose of tadalafil, the active ingredient in the prescription-only medicine Cialis.
Xiao Ping Yan of Barnet first became known to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2009 when he was officially cautioned for possession with intent to supply Jia Yi Jian, a fake ‘herbal’ product which actually contained up to four times the dose of erection drug taladafil and more than four times the dose of withdrawn slimming medicine sibutramine. The MHRA say that both these drugs in combination posed a serious health risk through a dangerously increased heart rate, risk of heart attack and stroke, with sibutramine withdrawn from legitimate pharmaceutical products in 2010 due to evidence regarding its health risks.
The following year he was stopped at Heathrow Airport with 51,600 tablets of ‘herbal Viagra’ that he was importing from China which contained the prescription-only medicine, tadalafil. Following an MHRA investigation, Yan was sentenced to a 32-week suspended prison sentence. The latest MHRA investigation found over 5,000 tablets hidden in boxes for ‘diet tea’ at Yan’s home address. These included Jia Yi Jian, which Yan was found guilty of supplying as an unlicensed medicinal product.
MHRA head of enforcement, Alastair Jeffrey said: “We will continue to seek out and prosecute the kind of criminals who recklessly endanger public health by selling illegal unlicensed medicines. Products such as these which are adulterated with high levels of pharmaceutical ingredients present a real health risk. It is vital that people who are suffering a medical condition don’t take shortcuts buying online, speak to your doctor to get the appropriate treatment.”
On August 15th at Wood Green Crown Court Yan was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment for breach of a suspended sentence as well as eight weeks for placing an unlicensed medicine on the market without authorisation. He was also ordered to pay £600 in court costs within 12 months.