Press release: Two men sentenced for illegal online sale of Prescription Only Medicines and Class C steroids

Press release

Date: Wednesday 8 February 2012
Time: 12:00
Contact: Press Office 020 3080 7651
or press.office@mhra.gsi.gov.uk
Out-of-hours 07770 446 189

Two Essex men were sentenced yesterday at Chelmsford Crown Court for their involvement in the illegal online sale and supply of prescription-only medicines, namely clomiphene citrate used for fertility purposes, and numerous anabolic steroids  to body builders. This follows an investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Steven Corbersmith received 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years for his part. He previously pleaded guilty to issuing advertisements for prescription only medicines, possession with intent to supply Class C drugs, being concerned in the supply of Class C drugs, and the retail sale of prescription only medicines.

Stefan Hazell was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years for his part. Hazell pleaded guilty to attempting to supply a controlled drug of Class C and a prescription only medicine, and issuing advertisements for prescription only medicines on his website.

The MHRA was alerted to a website believed to be selling the illegal medicines and they made test purchases. Intelligence also revealed that Corbersmith owned a gym in Walton-on-the-Naze and had a related website called www.slchealth-fitness.com. A second website was also set up by Hazell, www.sssupplements.com.    
 
The prosecution was part of Operation Tilly, which looked to close down websites illegally selling prescription only medicines. The total value of sales made through Corbersmith’s website between September 2008 and July 2010 was found to be in the region of half a million pounds; orders fulfilled through Hazell’s website totalled over £11,000.

Acting Head of Enforcement, Nimo Ahmed, said “Cases like this show the lengths criminals will go for financial gain. These individuals showed blatant disregard for public health.

“The danger of purchasing medicines online is that you just don’t know what you are taking.   The dosages could be either too high or too low.

“We will not hesitate to take action against those who undermine public health.

Notes to Editor

1. Steven Corbersmith (aged 35) was from Grasmere Gardens, Frinton-on-Sea. Stefan Hazell (aged 28) is from Dugmore Avenue, Kirby-le-Soken.
2. It is an offence under section 58 of the Medicines Act to sell or supply Prescription Only Medicines (including Clomiphene Citrate) without a prescription. Certain anabolic steroids are Class C drugs controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act.
3. 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.
Page last modified: 09 February 2012