Press release

Gang sentenced for importing unlicensed drugs

A gang were sentenced today for their involvement in the illegal importation and sale of erectile dysfunction drugs and tranquilisers.

Pills

A gang were sentenced today for their involvement in the illegal importation and sale of erectile dysfunction drugs and tranquilisers.

James Michie, aged 44 from Whitley Bridge, was sentenced to 40 months imprisonment at Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to import medicinal products without a licence, handling stolen goods, money laundering and conspiracy to commit Trade Mark Act offences.

Mark Parkinson, aged 47 from Pontefract, was sentenced to 34 months imprisonment and Anthony Cunningham, aged 49 also from Pontefract, was given a 12 month Community Service Order and told to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

This was after pleading guilty to conspiracy to import medicinal products without a licence and conspiracy to commit Trade Mark Act offences.

An investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found that between 2008 and 2010 Mr Michie imported over 1.2 million unlicensed erectile dysfunction tablets and over 141,000 other illegal medicines including diazepam worth over 3.5 million pounds. He later accepted payment for their sale.

Parcels of the drugs were imported from India, China and Hong Kong, by Mr Michie and handled by Mr Cunningham and Mr Parkinson, who worked as self-employed delivery drivers contracted to the Royal Mail.

Mr Michie is a former professional snooker player who reached the semi-final of the British Open in 1999 and knew Mr Parkinson through their mutual love of the sport. The pair later recruited Cunningham to assist their operation.

MHRA Head of Enforcement, Alastair Jeffrey, said:

The scale and organisation of this criminal enterprise demonstrates the determination of the individuals involved to profit from the illegal sales of medicines.

Criminals who illegally supply medicines are not concerned with the health of their customers - they only want their money.

To protect your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and buy medicines from a legitimate high street or registered pharmacy which can trade online.

Background

  1. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in the UK by ensuring they work and are acceptably safe. All our work is underpinned by robust and fact-based judgements to ensure that the benefits justify any risks. MHRA is a centre of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency which also includes the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). MHRA is an executive agency of the Department of Health.

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Published 10 June 2016