UK Counterfeit Cancer Drug Distributor Sentenced to Eight Years
Watch the story of Gillespie's co-conspirator, Kevin Xu,
convicted in the U.S. for counterfeit drug importation.
Video courtesy of HDNet.
Peter Gillespie, 64, of Windsor, Berkshire, was found guilty of all charges at Croydon Crown Court for what the MHRA has called "the most serious known breach of counterfeit medicine in the regulated supply chain."
In the trial, which began in November 2010, Gillespie and four associated businessmen were accused of running a fake cancer, heart, and mental health medication distribution scheme, in which they were accused of infiltrating the legitimate supply chain, based on Gillespie's well known stature in the pharmaceutical wholesale field, with fake medications imported from Asia.
Gillespie was sentenced to eight years, and his four co-defendants were acquitted, announced the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Gillespie was charged with importing over two million doses of fake medication for serious health concerns, including prostate cancer, blood clots and psychosis. Gillespie was convicted of importing over 2 million doses into the UK in a five month period. More than half the medications were seized by MHRA, however 900,000 doses reached pharmacies and patients, with more than 700,000 of those doses unrecoverable.
He was affiliated with Kevin Xu, convicted in the United States of importation of the same chemically deficient medications. U.S. Federal Customs and Immigration authorities, alerted to Xu's role in the UK debacle, organized a sting operation where he sold large quantities of counterfeit medication to undercover agents. He was tried in Federal Court and found guilty of selling counterfeit goods, ordered pay $1.3 million in restitution and sentenced to over six years in prison.
The case arose from a three and half year investigation by MHRA, after the UK supply chain was breeched from December 2006 and May 2007. The fake drugs sold by Gillespie were valued at £4.7million, reports the BBC.
Gillespie was convicted of conspiring to defraud pharmaceutical wholesalers, pharmacists and members of the public. In addition he was convicted of selling or supplying drugs without a marketing authorization between January 2006 and June 2007 and acting as a company director while disqualified.
Said Mike Deats, Head of Enforcement for MHRA, “This is serious criminal activity and puts people’s lives at risk. Our primary objective is to protect public health and we will not hesitate to take all appropriate action to eliminate the risks posed by counterfeit medicines and take action against those engaged in their supply.
He added, "We share the concerns of patients across the UK. All patients have a right to expect that medicines supplied to them are genuine and meet appropriate standards of quality safety and efficacy. Unfortunately, there are those who are prepared to put profits before concern for other human beings and risk the serious consequences that their actions may bring."
The four men acquitted were Gillespie's brother Ian, 59, of The Green, Marsh Baldon, Oxfordshire; Richard Kemp, 61, of School Lane, Y Waen, Flint, north Wales; Ian Harding, 58, of Lower Westwood, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire; and James Quinn, 70, of Virginia Park, Virginia Water, Surrey, reports the BBC.
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