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Court appearance over fake imports

A pharmacist who imported hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit medications to the UK from Pakistan is facing a “substantial” fine.

Hitendra Patel, of Worcester Park, Surrey, ran Northcote Pharmacy and also owned a wholesale dealership called Smartway Pharmaceuticals.

Kingston Crown Court heard the 41-year-old shipped more than £200,000 worth of fake Viagra (sildenafil citrate), while co-defendant Shaan Hussain, 30, sold the drug to interested buyers.

Patel admitted two breaches of the Medicines for Human Use Marketing Authorisations Regulations 1994. Hussain, from Ealing, west London, pleaded guilty to one charge under the same act.

Hussain was fined £1,000 for his part in the operation, while Patel, whose pharmacy registration has been suspended, faces a confiscation hearing on May 30.

Judge Nicholas Price QC said that the pair would have received harsher sentences but for the fact neither knew the drugs were fake.

He added: “The dangers of counterfeit pharmaceutical products are well known and among them is the danger to health.

“These offences committed by you were for very considerable financial gain and it seems to me that as financial gain was the guiding force behind your actions, so I should impose a financial penalty to reflect the criminality of what you have done.”

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Medicines for Human Use Marketing Authorisations Regulations 1994

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