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Two pharmacists sentenced for illegal supply of 55 million doses of controlled drugs


Two pharmacists sentenced for illegal supply of 55 million doses of controlled drugs

Two pharmacists who between them illegally supplied over 55 million doses of controlled drugs have each received 24-month suspended sentences.

Mandip Sidhu, 47, of Littleover, Derby, and Nabeil Nasr, 42, of Cheadle, Greater Manchester, had both pleaded guilty during an earlier hearing.

Sidhu, the director of Pharmaceutical Health Limited (PHL) based in Derby, was sentenced to two years imprisonment on each of five counts of supplying Class C drugs and four months for forgery. The sentence runs concurrently and was suspended for 24 months on condition she completes 200 hours of community service for illegally supplying diazepam, zolpidem and zopiclone.

Sidhu also pleaded guilty to a charge of forgery having tried to mislead a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency inspector into believing medicines had been sold to a company outside the European Economic Area by producing a false invoice.

According to the MHRA, PHL purchased 4.27 million tablets in August 2014 and 4.5 million tablets in March 2015, even though PHL had not legally dispensed any medicines against a prescription since July 19, 2013.

“For perspective, around 5 million diazepam tablets were legally dispensed against prescription in the whole of England during 2014,” the MHRA said.

Nasr, who owned several pharmacies in the North-West of England, received two years for each of two counts of supplying diazepam and zopiclone and one year for each of two counts of wholesale dealing without a wholesale licence. His sentence was suspended for 24 months also on condition he completes 200 hours of community service.

The offences took place between May 2013 and June 2017. Of the 55 million doses of Class C controlled drugs illegally supplied, over 47 million doses were of diazepam.

MHRA deputy director (criminal enforcement) Andy Morling said: “This sentencing follows a thorough and complex investigation conducted by our Criminal Enforcement Unit. Our staff showed exceptional determination, skill and professionalism in bringing Nabeil Nasr and Mandip Sidhu to justice.

“This successful prosecution demonstrates that the MHRA will use the full range of powers and tools available to us to protect the public from the harm caused by those illegally trading in powerful medicines.”

Morling added: “In order for a pharmacist or wholesale business owner to legally trade in these medicines, they need to hold a Home Office Controlled Drug Licence (HOCDL).

“The licence must also be endorsed by the MHRA before it can be used to buy or sell drugs in high quantities. While both Sidhu and Nasr held various licences for their work as pharmacists, neither held an HOCDL.”

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