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Counterfeit drug dealer sentenced

An investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has led to a man being sentenced for dealing in counterfeit medicines
An investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has led to a man being sentenced for dealing in counterfeit medicines.

A routine examination, in May 2006, by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers at Heathrow airport triggered the investigation. A shipment of 23 boxes was found to contain packages labelled as the branded medicines Nexium, Diovan, Propecia, Actonel, Lipitor, Ezetrol and Hyzaar. Inconsistencies in printing led to the shipment being detained and its authenticity checked. Every sample was found to be counterfeit.

A later inspection of the suspect's home led to the discovery of packages labelled as Reductil, a prescription-only obesity drug, which were also found to be fake.

Mr Viraj Shah of Harrow, Middlesex pleaded guilty to seven counts under the Trade Marks Act 1994. He was sentenced to 51 weeks imprisonment (suspended for two years) and 40 hours community service.

Mick Deats, group manager of enforcement at the MHRA said: "Anybody engaged in the distribution of counterfeit medicines represents a significant threat to public health, both to individual patients and in undermining the health system. The MHRA will not hesitate to take action against those involved in this serious criminal activity."

4th July 2008

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