A Birmingham pharmacist has been sentenced to 28 months in prison following an investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Sarfraz Hussain, 49, admitted to supply or intending to supply a total of 1,443,036 doses of controlled drugs worth around £854,000 to £1.4 million pleaded guilty at the Birmingham Crown Court in January.
The investigators found that Hussain, who operated three pharmacies out of Small Health, Erdington and Halesowen, never held a Home Office Controlled Drugs licence that allows to trade, import or export controlled drugs.
Despite this, he ordered large amounts of controlled drugs from legitimates suppliers, prompting the MHRA to inspect his Erdington pharmacy.
Hussain denied any wrongdoing during the initial questioning but further investigations revealed that from August 2015 to September 2016, he unlawfully supplied 31,537 packs of Class C drugs including Zopiclone, Diazepam, Nitrazepam, Zolpidem and Zopiclone.
MHRA enforcement officers seized 560,000 Diazepam, Nitrazepam and Zopiclone tablets from Hussain’s three pharmacies.
“It is a serious criminal offence to sell controlled drugs which are also prescription-only medicines without a prescription,” said Mark Jackson, MHRA Head of Enforcement.
“We work relentlessly with regulatory and law enforcement colleagues to identify and prosecute those involved.
“Those who sell medicines illegally are exploiting vulnerable people and have no regard for their health. Prescription-only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision” Jackson added.