Birmingham Crown Court today sentenced a pharmacist to one year imprisonment for selling hundreds of thousands of doses of addictive prescription drugs onto the black market.

Balkeet Singh Khaira, 36, who worked at his mother’s pharmacy in West Bromwich, made over £59,000 from the Class C drugs, which are prescribed for pain relief and to treat conditions such as anxiety and insomnia.

The medicines were sold at huge profit during 2016 and 2017, and the value of these pills on the black market is estimated at over £1m.

Records found at his mother’s shop, Khaira Pharmacy, showed that of hundreds of thousands of doses of diazepam, nitrazepam, tramadol, zolpidem, and zopiclone purchased from wholesalers, only a small percentage had been dispensed against prescription, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said.

This left more than 800,000 pills unaccounted for that Khaira later admitted he had sold to drug dealers.

He had pleaded guilty to five counts of supplying controlled class C drugs at the court on February 9.

“It is a serious criminal offence to sell controlled, unlicensed or prescription-only medicines in this way,” Grant Powell, the MHRA Enforcement officer leading the case, said.

“Anyone who sells medicines illegally could be exploiting vulnerable people and clearly has no regard for their health or welfare. Prescription only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision.”

The investigation began following allegations that the pharmacy was selling large quantities of prescription-only medicine without a prescription.

Khaira, who is from All Saints Drive, Sutton Coldfield, was suspended from the GPhC pharmacist register under an interim order, rendering him unable to practice while waiting for the case to come to court. His mother, whose pharmacy he worked at, was not involved in any of the criminal activity.

While he has admitted to the charges, Khaira claimed he was forced to sell medicines after initially making a voluntary sale to drug dealers. He added that he was threatened outside of his pharmacy, but refused to provide any information on who these people were or who he sold to.

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