Drug mailing scam lands Surrey man with 44 months in prison
Yet another counterfeiter has deservedly been imprisoned after putting lives at risk from selling fraudulent, dangerous drugs. The guilty party is a Portuguese national who has received a prison sentence of almost four years (44 months in total) following him being caught operating an illegal internet drug mailing business. Mahomed Bacai, aged 38, of Addlestone, Surrey, conceded that he was guilty of five offences including forgery, possession of false identity documents and conspiracy to supply class C drugs, prescription-only medicines and medicines not on the General Sales List. Bacai received his sentence on 22 February at Guildford Crown Court. His arrest came about after the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) began its own investigation in January 2011 upon learning of seizures of medicines by the UK Border Agency in Coventry. The governmental agency has stated that Bacai’s illicit dealings saw him hiring mailboxes using false paperwork and fictitious names. By using all this, he would acquire parcels from overseas suppliers based in India and China. He re-packed the parcels at his home before shipping them off to his international customer base. In June 2011 MHRA officers conducted a raid of his house in Addlestone and recovered approximately £1.6m ($2.4m) worth of unlicensed medicines that comprised of ‘vast amounts of counterfeit and unlicensed erectile dysfunction medicines’ stored in what the MHRA described as ‘unsanitary conditions, including a garden shed’. In addition, officers also found powerful Class C drugs such as the opiate Tramadol, tranquiliser drug Diazepam and vials of testosterone. More investigations into Bacai’s activities resulted in officers being able to intercept an incredible £125,000 worth of counterfeit medicines that were due to arrive at his home address and he was promptly arrested. Nimo Ahmed, MHRA Acting Head of Enforcement said: “We are committed to pursuing those involved in the illicit supply of medicines and taking action to ensure that public health is protected. Prescription-only medicines and controlled substances such as Tramadol and Diazepam are potent substances. They can cause serious harm if not taken under the supervision of a doctor or other appropriate healthcare professional and obtained through a registered pharmacy. We urge people to only take prescription-only medicines after an appropriate consultation with their GP. They are best equipped to consider your medical history, the risk and benefits of drugs and any possible interactions with other medicines you’re taking.” Medical Specialists Pharmacy are fully aware that there are thousands of illegal websites plaguing the internet that offer ‘discounted’ and ‘genuine’ medicines. We speak to patients on a daily basis who are clearly very reluctant to obtain medicines online. With this in mind, here are some important factors to be alert of when browsing through different websites: . Long delivery times, sometimes up to several weeks. This is due to the drug being imported from a foreign country before it gets to you. . For erectile dysfunction medication, a phony website could state ‘generic Viagra’ or ‘generic sildenafil citrate’. There is no such thing as generic Viagra! . The price of the medication is a lot cheaper than usual, sometimes by as much as 70%. . The website does not list any contact details, e.g. a telephone and fax number, company address, pharmacists, doctors, etc. . A registered Pharmacy such as Medical Specialists Pharmacy will have the GPhC green cross logo together with its Pharmacy number. This number can be checked to see if it does actually exist. . The company registration and VAT number should both be clearly stated on the website. Both of these are a legal requirement.