Company convicted for illegal sales of prescription medicines

Date published: 18 July 2016

Food retail company Karolina Int Foods Ltd was today sentenced at Newry Magistrates Court having pleaded guilty to the illegal sale of prescription medicines from its specialist Eastern European convenience food stores in Newry and Portadown.

Court Case

The Company was fined £1,000 (plus offender levy) and received a conditional discharge for 12 months.

The conviction followed inspections by Medicines Regulatory Group (MRG) officers from the Department of Health, focusing on the illegal sales of prescription medicines from unauthorised premises throughout the north of Ireland.

Department of Health enforcement officers visited convenience food stores in Marcus Street, Newry and Woodhouse Street, Portadown in October 2015, seizing substantial quantities of illegal medicines found on open sale. The medicines seized were of Polish origin and included those for the treatment of infection and for pain relief.

Peter Moore, Senior Medicines Enforcement Officer with the Department of Health, who led the operation, said: "This conviction demonstrates that we are committed to pursuing those involved in the illicit supply of prescription medicines in whatever circumstances they may be found. If you require treatment for a medical condition, a visit to your GP or pharmacist is the best course of action. Prescription and pharmacy medicines should always be obtained from a legitimate high street or online pharmacy.”

Professor Mike Mawhinney, Head of the Medicines Regulatory Group, added: “Buying medicines through unregulated sources can put you at serious risk as you have no idea what you are getting and how it will affect you. I trust this conviction will send a clear message that the Department will continue to be proactive in regulating the sale of medicines and in maintaining public safety. To this end we will continue to conduct further inspections across Northern Ireland and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where necessary”. 

Notes to editors: 

1. To report any suspicious activity in relation to any unauthorised or counterfeit medicines in the north of Ireland, please contact Mr Peter Moore, Senior Medicines Enforcement Officer, Department of Health Medicines Regulatory Group, on: 028 9052 2094 or by email: peter.moore@health-ni.gov.uk.

2. Offences

  • (i) On the 22nd day of October 2015 in the County Court Division of Armagh and South Down, in contravention of Regulation 220(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, sold or supplied, or offered for sale or supply, medicinal products that were not subject to general sale, contrary to Regulation 255(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.
  • (ii) On the 22nd day of October 2015 in the County Court Division of Armagh and South Down, in contravention of Regulation 214(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, sold or supplied prescription only medicine except in accordance with a prescription given by an appropriate practitioner, contrary to Regulation 255(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.
  • (iii) On the 22nd day of October 2015 in the County Court Division of Armagh and South Down, in contravention of Regulation 46(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 did sell, supply or offer to sell or supply an unauthorised medicinal products, contrary to Regulation 47(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.

3. Enquiries about this press release should be directed to the DoH press office on 028 9052 0074, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.  Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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