Articles from June 2009

Former bankrupt business man made millions by selling fake Viagra online

A former bankrupt businessman who funded a luxury lifestyle by selling millions of pounds worth of fake Viagra over the internet will be sentenced today.

In three years Martin Hickman, 49, who drove a Bentley with a number-plate L13 RGE, made £3.4million profit by selling sex pills on his website, MSH World Traders.

It helped pay for a £2.5million riverside apartment in Chelsea, West London, property in the Spanish millionaires’ resort of Marbella and a four-bedroom farmhouse.

But investigators discovered that some of the pills he was buying from India and selling across Europe were fakes, made to look like the licensed Viagra product, and others were not legal to sell in the UK.

Hickman, originally from London, was charged with dealing in fake and unlicensed medicines and money laundering £1.4 million after an investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority which began in 2005 and became one of the biggest cases in the agency’s history. To read the full story Click Here (08 June 2009, Daily Mail)

Study warns of danger from drugs bought on net

A paediatrician is warning that “net literate” parents are endangering their children by buying drugs from websites such as Ebay .

Dr Nadeem Afzal, a consultant paediatric gastroenterologist at Southampton General hospital, carried out an investigation of medicines for sale on eBay for common gut complaints such as constipation, diarrhoea, colic and abdominal pain. His findings, presented at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health spring meeting found that 53% of the 186 gastrointestinal drugs on offer were advertised for children. One of these, Infacol for colic, was being sold with a broken seal with the description “slightly used”. Other sellers did not list side-effects or provide use-by dates, and some suggested double the dosage that would normally be given in the UK.

Afzal said he was particularly worried that 42% of sellers gave no contact or address details so purchasers would have no legal recourse if the worse was to happen. Other “dangerous practices” described included laxatives being described as slimming pills and as treatments for diarrhoea.

In the study, 42% of sellers did not mention dosages, 93% ignored side-effects and 14% didn’t list what the drug was suitable for. Almost a third of sellers were offering drugs alongside household goods such as gardening tools, cosmetics and toys.  To read the full story Click Here (21 June 2009, The Observer).

China told to take action on selling fake ‘made-in-India’ drugs in Nigeria

India has asked China to take strict action against Chinese companies selling counterfeit drugs in Nigeria that state ‘made-in-India’ on the labels. The Nigerian government had recently confiscated consignments of such drugs shipped from China.

The Indian Embassy in Beijing is set to follow up the issue with the Chinese authorities, the department said in a statement. The Nigerian Government Drug Regulatory Authority (NAFDAC) had confiscated a large amount of fake anti-malarial generic drugs shipped from China with the ‘made-in-India’ labels.

Analysis by NAFDAC revealed that the confiscated drugs were counterfeit. Had it not been intercepted, it could have been taken by as many as 642,000 adults, said the statement. India told China that the offence, committed by the Chinese drug manufacturers, not only affected health of unsuspecting consumers, but also maligned India’s name. To read the full story Click Here (12 June 2009, The Economic Times).

Germany shuts down fake Viagra ring

After raids in five cities, German customs authorities have smashed a criminal ring selling millions of counterfeit male impotency pills online from India and other Asian countries

The operation involved 60 customs officers, seven prosecutors and 25 tax investigators and resulted in a stockpile of 46,000 pills destined for mail-order distribution, the customs office in the western city of Essen said.

Seven people were detained in the raids throughout the surrounding Ruhr Valley region carried out in early May after a months-long probe. Four have since been remanded in custody. “The medication, which requires a prescription, was sold via so-called online pharmacies on the Internet,” the customs office said in a statement. To read the full story Click Here (25 June 2009, Berlin AFP).