West Midlands man found guilty of illegal possession and supply of PoM worth £2m

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The Nightingale Court in Wolverhampton has sentenced a West Midlands man named Kieron Banks to five years in prison for illegal possession and intent to supply prescription-only medication (PoM) valued at over £2 million.

Following the investigations by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA),  the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought charges against Banks, who was found guilty on 27 January 2023 following a trial at the Nightingale Court in Wolverhampton.

During 2015, the MHRA was made aware that a website was selling prescription-only medicines illegally – this website was found to be associated with Banks.

The MHRA’s Criminal Enforcement Unit investigated the website and, supported by the West Midlands Police, arrested Banks at his home in 2016, where he was found to be in possession of over 23,000 sleeping pills, including zopiclone, zolpidem and zolpidem tartrate.

During the arrest various digital devices and financial documents were seized which showed that bank accounts belonging to Banks had received more than £2m from the sale of these medications.

Andy Morling, MHRA Deputy Director of Criminal Enforcement, said: “Criminals trading in medicines illegally are not only breaking the law, but they also have no regard for your safety. Taking powerful medicines such as these can lead to serious adverse health consequences. You should never take prescription-only medicines 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.

Ben Reid, CPS Special Prosecutor, revealed that Banks was willing to sell controlled drugs to anyone who was willing to pay the right price, without having the professional qualifications to do so.

MHRA said: “Self-diagnosis and self-medication can be very dangerous. If you have a concern about your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and if medicines are prescribed, obtain them from a legitimate source.”

Banks was also sentenced with co-defendant, Anita Rama, who was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 18 months, 60 hours unpaid work and 15 hours of rehabilitation activities on separate charges for the illegal supply and sale of prescription medication valued at £184,000, including diazepam for anxiety, zopiclone sleeping pills and erectile dysfunction meds sildenafil, tadalafil and dapoxetine.

The sleeping pill products seized were Actavis zopiclone, Mylan zolpidem, and Teva zolpidem tartrate medicines.

Visit the #FakeMeds website for tools and resources to help people purchase medication or medical devices safely online.

 

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