The MHRA is continuing its crackdown on the illegal sale of medicines after a British man is fined and given a suspended prison sentence.


Following an investigation by the UK drugs regulator the MHRA, Gary Bracci, a 31-year-old man from Canvey Island, has received a 12 months suspended sentence for two years at Basildon Crown Court.


This came after he pleaded guilty to laundering more than £400,000 from the illegal online sale of anabolic steroids and prescription-only medicines. Bracci was also given 300 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £10,000 costs over a period of 12 months.


The MHRA says that Bracci set up payment facilities and converted the money he received from the illegal sale of the illegal medicines through his own bank account.


The MHRA said that during its investigation into the websites  and in March last year, more than 26,000 tablets of prescription-only medicine, anabolic steroids and human growth hormone were seized.


MHRA officers also found and seized laboratory equipment and paraphernalia connected with the home manufacture of anabolic steroids. The homemade steroid products were labelled ‘Medipharma’ and when tested by the MHRA, they were found to contain small or unpredictable quantities of their claimed ingredient.


Three Essex men have previously been sentenced for their involvement in this operation. Nicholas Boys of Southend, was sentenced to a total of 18 months imprisonment, with Eric Rudanec, also of Southend and Mark Rosson, of Westcliffe-on-Sea, who were both given a six month suspended sentence for 12 months and 150 hours of unpaid work.


Nimo Ahmed, MHRA acting head of enforcement, said: “Prescription-only medicines and anabolic steroids are potent substances. They should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor or other appropriate healthcare professional and obtained through a registered pharmacy. The MHRA is committed to pursuing those involved in the illicit supply of medicines and taking action to ensure that public health is protected.”


Tackling the problem head-on


This comes just a month after more than £6.5 million worth of counterfeit and unlicensed medicines were seized across the globe as part of a week-long international crackdown on the illicit internet trade in medicines, of which the MHRA played a large part.


Pharma has struggled for years with trying to crackdown on illegal and counterfeit medicines as it can take serious chunks out of its revenues, as well as harm patients. Pfizer has been one of the most targeted – especially its erectile dysfunction drug Viagra – and has spent much time and money tackling this problem.