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Three brothers jailed for illegal sale and supply of unlicensed medicines worth £1.5m

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Over half a million erectile dysfunction, slimming and herbal tablets, with an estimated value of approximately £500k, were also found from them.

The Manchester Crown Court on Friday (9 December) sentenced three men, Cleave Lewis (35) and brothers, Denis Sutherland (58) and David Sutherland (59), to a total of three years in jail after they pleaded guilty to the illegal sale and supply online of prescription-only medicines and controlled Class B and Class C drugs, worth more than £1.5m.

They were found in possession of nearly 1.3m tablets of prescription-only drugs, including powerful sleeping pills, painkillers and anti-anxiety meds, when officers from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Greater Manchester Police searched their residential homes and business premises in October 2017.

Following investigations by the agency, they also pleaded guilty to illegally making these medicines available online on three different websites for the public to purchase without prescriptions.

The officials also recovered controlled medicines, over half a million (525,737) erectile dysfunction, slimming and herbal tablets, with an estimated value of approximately £500k, from them.

On 30 November 2021, they pleaded guilty at the court, which sentenced Denis Sutherland to three years in jail, the two other brothers (David Sutherland and Cleave Lewis) to a year in jail, suspended for two years, with 200 hours of unpaid community work each.

Andy Morling, MHRA Deputy Director of Criminal Enforcement, said: “Criminals trading in medicines illegally like this are not only breaking the law, but they also have no regard for your safety. These are powerful medicines that can lead to serious adverse health consequences if taken without appropriate medical supervision.

“We work hard to prevent, detect and investigate illegal activity involving medicines and medical devices to protect the public and defeat this harmful trade.

“Our Criminal Enforcement Unit will continue working to protect your health by disrupting this harmful trade and bringing dangerous offenders to justice.”

The MHRA has warned the public to be careful when buying medicines online, and to avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication.

 

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