A woman who had £250,000 of counterfeit medicines stashed in her London home was yesterday sentenced to two and half years in jail by the Croydon Crown Court.

Enforcement officers from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the City of London Police discovered the fake drugs – which included more than 50,000 units of ephedrine, a selection of slimming and erectile dysfunction pills, painkillers and anabolic steroids - at thirty-nine year old Shazia Amjad’s house in Uxbridge late last year. The drugs came from Pakistan and were sent to Amjad via mail.

Commenting on the sentence, Mick Deats, head of enforcement at the MHRA, said that it “sends out a very clear warning that dealing in counterfeit medicines doesn’t pay.”

The sale of counterfeit medicines seems to be a growing problem for the UK; earlier this year, the MHRA said it was investigating twice as many cases as it had to deal with five years ago, and research published in August found an increasing number of unlicensed pharmacies supplying patients in the country.

Clamping down
But Deats insists that the Agency will “continue to clamp down on those who flout the law and put the public’s health at risk”, and stressed that medicines should only be obtained from legitimate outlets, such as a doctor or pharmacist.

“If people do not, then there can be no guarantee to their safety, quality or indeed that they work. At best these medicines could be a waste of money, at worst they could be severely detrimental to your health,” he warned.