Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation

Man fined for illegal importation of unlicensed medicine

A 37 year old North Belfast man was today convicted at Belfast Magistrates' Court for illegally importing a large quantity of unlicensed medicine.
Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The seized erectile dysfunction pills were worth £3,000 on the black market.

John Tohill, from North Queen Street, Belfast, was fined £200 plus court costs, having pleaded guilty to two charges of unlawfully importing the unlicensed prescription drugs from India.

The United Kingdom Border Force had intercepted the illegal ‘Kamagra’ tablets destined for Tohill’s North Belfast address in October 2012. During a follow up investigation carried out by DHSSPS Medicines Regulatory Group officers, it was established that Tohill had sourced the illegal medicines via the internet. During a search of Tohill’s residential address, officers found a further quantity of the unlicensed drugs.

DHSSPS Medicines Regulatory Group Senior Enforcement Officer, Mr Peter Moore said: “It is vital that we continue to get the message across that the use of medicines sourced in this way is a real risk.

“When you buy a medicine from an unregistered website or unregulated source, you will never know the conditions that product has been made in. On top of that, you very well may be receiving a product that is fake or reacts adversely with any other medication you take. My advice to the public is that they should 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.”

Professor Mike Mawhinney, Head of the Medicines Regulatory Group, said: “The Department has made it very clear that it will continue to be vigilant and proactive in the regulation of medicines in Northern Ireland and this investigation clearly demonstrates our determination to stop this kind of illegal activity.”

Mr Moore concluded: “Our message is simple – don’t be tempted to bypass the regulated system in Northern Ireland. The public is advised that they should not purchase medicines from unregistered or unregulated internet sites. I would urge the public to be on the alert to ensure that they do not put their health at risk or fund this crime by purchasing medication from an illicit source.”

Notes to editors:

1. Medicines regulatory importation offence:

Regulation 17(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012: A person may not except in accordance with a manufacturer’s licence, import from a state other than an EEA State, any medicinal product, contrary to Regulation 34(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.
A person guilty of an offence is liable:

(a) On summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum; or

(b) On conviction on indictment to a fine, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or to both.

2. To report any suspicious activity in relation to any unauthorised or counterfeit medicines in Northern Ireland, please contact Mr Peter Moore, Senior Medicines Enforcement Officer, DHSSPS Medicines Regulatory Group, on: 028 90522094 or by email: peter.moore@dhsspsni.gov.uk

3. Enquiries about this press release should be directed to the DHSSPS press office on 028 9052 2841, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.