|Date:||16 November 2012|
|Subject:||Essex man receives 12 months suspended sentence for laundering £422K from illegal sales of medicines.|
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Following an investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an Essex man today received 12 months suspended sentence for two years at Basildon Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to laundering over £400,000 from the illegal online sale of anabolic steroids and prescription only medicines. He was also given 300 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £10,000 costs over a period of 12 months.
Gary Bracci, 31, of Holland Avenue, Canvey Island, set up payment facilities and converted the money he received from the illegal sale of these Internet medicines through his own bank account.
During the course of the MHRA investigation into the websites www.supplements-online.net and anabolic-steroids-online.com, in March 2011, more than 26,000 tablets of prescription only medicine, anabolic steroids and human growth hormone were seized.
MHRA officers also found and seized laboratory equipment and paraphernalia connected with the home manufacture of anabolic steroids. The homemade steroid products were labelled “Medipharma”. When tested by the MHRA, they were found to contain small or unpredictable quantities of their claimed ingredient.
Three Essex men have previously been sentenced for their involvement in this operation. Nicholas Boys (D.O.B 07/08/1985), of Southend, was sentenced to a total of 18 months imprisonment with Eric Rudanec, (D.O.B. 14/05/1962) of Southend and Mark Rosson, (D.O.B 03/05/1969) of Westcliffe-on-Sea, who were both given a six month suspended sentence for 12 months and 150 hours of unpaid work.
Nimo Ahmed, MHRA Acting Head of Enforcement said:
“Prescription-only medicines and anabolic steroids are potent substances. They should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor or other appropriate healthcare professional and obtained through a registered pharmacy.
“The MHRA is committed to pursuing those involved in the illicit supply of medicines and taking action to ensure that public health is protected.
"We urge people to only take prescription-only medicines after an appropriate consultation with their GP. Only healthcare professionals can take into account risks and benefits associated with every medicine. Anyone who self medicates and buys their medicines from internet sites could be in danger of receiving counterfeit or substandard medicines.
“The medicine may also not be suitable for you – at worst, they may cause serious harm and could interact with other medicines you are taking.”
Notes to Editor1. To report a counterfeit medicine or device contact the MHRA dedicated 24-hour hotline on 0203 080 6701, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Counterfeits, The Intelligence Unit, MHRA, 151 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, London, SW1W 9SZ.
2. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe. No product is risk-free. Underpinning all our work lie robust and fact-based judgments to ensure that the benefits to patients and the public justify the risks. We keep watch over medicines and devices, and take any necessary action to protect the public promptly if there is a problem. We encourage everyone – the public and healthcare professionals as well as the industry – to tell us about any problems with a medicine or medical device, so that we can investigate and take any necessary action.