Staffordshire woman sentenced for selling counterfeit medicines
9th August 2010
30 March 2010 A 51-year-old woman was sentenced to eight months in prison at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court for the possession of controlled drugs with the intent to supply, and for the possession of medicines with the intent to place them on the market without a licence. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) began their investigation in January 2008 into a website called The website advertised the sale of branded Prescription Only Medicines, such as Viagra. The products were posted from Southern Cyprus. Tests carried out as part of the investigation found these medicines to be counterfeit. Operation Lauren was a joint investigation by MHRA investigators and Staffordshire Police. They visited five addresses in March 2009; three residential and two commercial. Small recoveries were made from the business addresses, and seizures were made at Ms Ruutel-Glykys home address; Forest Court, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. This address proved to be the UK distribution centre for the website pharma2u. The operation seized a range of computers, stationery, a cash card machine and a total of 65,000 drugs and Prescription Only Medicines. A Canadian/Cypriot woman, Norma Ene Ruutel-Glykys, was arrested and later released on bail. In September 2009, Ms Ruutel-Glykys was charged, and she later pleaded guilty at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on 15 February 2010. MHRA Head of Enforcement Mick Deats said that people just don’t know what they’re taking if buying their medicines from illicit websites; the dosages could be either too high or too low, the product could contain no active pharmaceutical ingredient; or it could be a totally different ingredient to the one stated. “Illegal suppliers do not care about quality control or standards, and people who purchase their medicine from these websites will never know where the product has originated from or what it might contain. “People running these websites are not healthcare professionals; in fact, they are not professional in any way shape or form. They’re simply financially motivated criminals making a living at the expense of people’s health. “If you feel that your medicine may be counterfeit, contact the MHRA’s dedicated 24 hour anti-counterfeiting hotline on 020 7084 2701 or by email to[email protected].”