|Date:||27 March 2013|
|Subject:||Three men and one woman sentenced in counterfeit medicines case|
|Contact:||Press Office 020 3080 7651
Out-of-hours 07770 446 189
Three men and one woman have been sentenced in relation to the illegal online supply of prescription only and counterfeit medicines. This follows an undercover operation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Andrew Luxton of 1 Plantation Row, Gwent, 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.
Samantha Steed of 1 Plantation Row, Gwent, 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 Ms Steed was given a community service order of 18 months.
Carl Willis of 11 Western Terrace, was sentenced to 6 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.
Anthony Luxton of 206 George Parry Court was sentenced to a Supervision Order on 3 counts which involved conspiracy to supply prescription only medicines and possession of Diazepam and Nitrazepam, both class C controlled drugs.
During the investigation, focussed 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.
It was also found that Carl Willis was involved in the illegal importation of medicine and that a package containing medicine was sent to the address of Andrew Luxton, the father of Anthony Luxton.
Searches of the homes of those involved uncovered stashes of counterfeit medication and generic prescription only medicine. This included Viagra, Cialis, diazepam and methadone. A study of a computer also showed email traffic between Andrew Luxton, Samantha Steed, Carl Willis and others indicating the previous supply of illegitimate medicine.
The court had previously heard that all four defendants conspired to supply prescription only medicine which they had imported from Pakistan. They agreed to act as ‘drop shippers’ - the medicine 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.
Buying medicines from unauthorised sources significantly increases the risks of getting substandard or fake medicines. People who buy medicines without the benefit of a consultation with an appropriate healthcare professional run the risk being supplied with medicines that are not safe or suitable for them to use.
You should take prescription only medicines after an appropriate consultation with your GP.’
Notes to Editor1. To report a counterfeit medicine or device contact the MHRA dedicated 24-hour hotline on 0203 080 6701, or e-mail 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 judgements 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. www.mhra.gov.uk