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Four sentenced for running counterfeit medicine ring

The MHRA uncovered stocks of counterfeit medicines in a raid on a house in Gwent, including Viagra, Cialis, diazepam and methadone.

Three men and one woman have received jail sentences and supervision orders for running a counterfeit drugs ring with intent to supply methadone, diazepam and other prescription-only medicines.

The four from Gwent, Wales were sentenced for acting as "drop shippers", receiving medicines from Pakistan and distributing them in the UK, at a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court last week.

The individuals showed a blatant disregard for public health, said the MHRA

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An MHRA raid of their residences in the Ebbw Vale area of Gwent uncovered "stashes" of counterfeit medicines including Viagra, Cialis, diazepam and methadone, the court heard. A study of a home computer found email trails between three of the defendants about supplying illicit medicines.

Investigators concluded that Carl Willis of 11 Western Terrace had illegally imported the medicines and sent them on to Andrew Luxton of 1 Plantation Row for distribution.

Mr Willis was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to attend a drug rehabilitation programme, at the hearing on March 25. Mr Luxton was handed a 12-month prison sentence for his involvement.

Samantha Steed, who shared a residence with Mr Luxton, was charged on four counts including conspiracy to supply prescription-only medicines and possession of counterfeit medicines and controlled drugs. Ms Steed was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and also given an 18-month community service order.

Anthony Luxton of 206 George Parry Court, the son of Andrew Luxton, was handed a supervision order for conspiracy to supply and possession of class C controlled drugs.

The MHRA stressed that it remained committed to tackling the illicit supply of medicines. "These individuals were involved in a concerted conspiracy to supply counterfeit medicine and showed a blatant disregard for public health," said MHRA's acting head of enforcement Nimo Ahmed.

What else could be done to win the war against counterfeiting?

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