Counterfeit Inhaler Importer Sentenced in UK

One of three businessmen accused of importing and selling counterfeit asthma inhalers in the United Kingdom has been convicted and sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment for possessing 800 counterfeit asthma inhalers. Premal Gandesha, of West Drayton, pleaded guilty on June 13, 2011, to importing medicine from outside the European Economic Area through his company, Blueridge…


UK Counterfeit Cancer Drug Distributor Sentenced to Eight Years

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.


“Safe” Country Focus: United Kingdom

As my colleague Thomas Kubic recently noted, most supporters of drug importation have a faulty assumption that developed countries like Canada, Australia, Japan and the 27 members of the European Union (E.U.) are insulated from the global threat of counterfeit drugs. In the coming weeks, we will take a closer look at some of these so-called “safe” countries and illustrate why there is no such thing as a “safe” country when it comes to drug importation.


2 Million Counterfeit Needles Found in Europe

View larger map What: More than two million counterfeit insulin needles were found in established European distribution channels. When: July 1, 2009 Where: Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom How: A Dutch company purchased insulin needles from a wholesaler in Malaysia, which claimed the needles came from Iran. The needles were subsequently distributed throughout the…


Counterfeit Heparin Blamed for Worldwide Deaths

View larger map What: Counterfeit heparin has been linked to the deaths of 81 people and resulted in hundreds of allergic reactions in the United States. Batches of contaminated heparin were also detected in 11 other countries – resulting in as many as 68 more deaths. Reports issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration…


Warning for Counterfeit Insulin Pens

Health Care Inspectorate Warns of Counterfeit Insulin Needles Products counterfeited: Insulin needles Lot numbers: 08J02S Countries known affected: Netherlands, UK, Poland Investigating agency contact: Inspectie Voor de Gezondheidszorg Manufacturers information: Novo Nordisk Posted on/updated: July 2009 View Larger Map The Netherlands Health Care Inspectorate [Inspectie voor de Gezondheidszorg (IGZ)] has issued a public warning following…


Thousands of Fake Pills Removed from UK Pharmacies

View larger map Thirty thousand packs of counterfeit life-saving drugs may have been consumed by National Health Service (NHS) patients, including drugs used to treat prostate cancer, strokes, heart conditions and schizophrenia. When: June 2007 Where: The United Kingdom How: According to reports by the BBC, reputable UK wholesalers were “duped by sophisticated counterfeits.” Who:  MHRA; National…


Counterfeit lipitor found again in the United Kingdom

OTTAWA – Health Canada is informing consumers about a batch of counterfeit Lipitor (the brand name for atorvastatin) found on the market in the United Kingdom. This drug is used to treat high cholesterol. The counterfeit Lipitor has a lot number of 004405K1, with an expiration date of "11 2007." The counterfeit Lipitor was originally…