The review will consider how treatment services can enable people with a drug dependency to achieve and sustain their recovery – spanning a wide range of services they may interact with across mental health, housing, employment and the criminal justice system (Photo: iStock).

A pharmacy worker has been sentenced to six years in prison for selling prescription-only medicines (PoM) worth over £20 million to drug dealers.

David Ihenagwa, 40, of Edmonton, north London was sentenced by Croydon Crown Court last week (January 23), following a crackdown by the government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Ihenagwa worked as a company secretary at his mother’s pharmacy in East London from where he supplied class B and class C controlled drugs to criminal gangs.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of supplying class B drugs and four charges of supplying class C drugs between September 2015 and April 2016, according to the government agency.

Ihenagwa’s criminal activities were exposed when MHRA officials seized 13,440 Codeine Phosphate tablets from an address in Stoke-on-Trent in June 2016. The MHRA said those “were traced back to the pharmacy where Ihenagwa worked.”

The government agency found that the convicted pharmacy worker purchased the tablets from a licensed wholesale dealer in Surrey and operated his criminal enterprise from his mother’s pharmacy.

Its investigations showed that he regularly purchased far larger quantities of controlled drugs than would normally be dispensed from a high street pharmacy.

Further investigations revealed that Ihenagwa had sold medicines on at least 23 separate occasions to a criminal group: the drugs would be loaded in a van and shipped around the country by the gang.

Ihenagwa was charged with supplying large quantities of Codeine Phosphate, a class B drug, and class C drugs Diazepam, Zopiclone, Lorazepam, and Tramadol – all PoMs.

The MHRA said proceedings to confiscate the proceeds of Ihenagwa’s criminal activity were currently underway.

In a statement, Mark Jackson, MHRA Head of Enforcement, said: “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.”

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