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Pharmacist jailed for selling £1m of controlled drugs on black market

Hundreds of thousands of POMs, including diazepam and tramadol, had been sold to drug dealers
Hundreds of thousands of POMs, including diazepam and tramadol, had been sold to drug dealers

A West Midlands pharmacist who illegally sold “hundreds of thousands” of prescription-only medicines (POMs) on the black market has been sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Balkeet Singh Khaira (registration number 2069004), 37, of Sutton Drive, Sutton Coldfield, pleaded guilty to five counts of supplying controlled class C drugs on February 9 at Birmingham Crown Court, where he was also sentenced yesterday (March 2).

Following an investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and West Midlands Police, it was discovered that Mr Khaira had made over £59,000 by illegally selling drugs from his mother’s West Bromwich pharmacy between 2016 and 2017.

His mother was not involved in any of the criminal activity, the MHRA said.

Investigation

Investigators found records at the pharmacy showing that, of hundreds of thousands of doses of diazepam, nitrazepam, tramadol, zolpidem and zopiclone purchased from wholesalers, only a small percentage had been dispensed against prescriptions. This left more than 800,000 pills unaccounted for, which Mr Khaira later admitted he had sold to drug dealers.

Mr Khaira claimed that while he had initially made a voluntary sale to drug dealers, he was subsequently "forced" into selling on more medicines after being "threatened outside of his pharmacy", the MHRA said.

Previously, when he had been contacted about the investigation by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), Mr Khaira pretended to be his mother and said he was “shocked and blindsided” by the accusations, according to the MHRA. He then went on to provide falsified evidence, it said. He was suspended from the GPhC register under an interim order while waiting for the case to come to trial.

Grant Powell, lead MHRA enforcement officer for the case, said: “Anyone who sells medicines illegally could be exploiting vulnerable people and clearly has no regard for their health or welfare.

“Prescription only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision.”

West Midlands Police declined to comment.

8 Comments
Question: 
How has demand for controlled drugs changed in your area?

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

800,000 tablets and the wholesalers supplying the pharmacy did not notice something was wrong ????  

Robert Mitchell, Community pharmacist

I'm imagining (and hoping) the tip off to the MHRA and the police came from somewhere 

Caroline Jones, Locum pharmacist

What I can't understand is how his mother who owned the pharmacy didn't know???

Mike Bereza, Community pharmacist

It was probably split between multiple wholesalers and they do not have a centralised monitoring system.

Dave Downham, Manager

How many wholesalers would you need them to be split between so that this wouldn't be noticeable? 8 wholesalers would be 100,000 pills each or 3,600 packets of 28 which even over 2 years would be 150 packets per 8 suppliers per month.

(Also, if he made £59,000, that's only £2 per pack, which is about what he would make from legally dispensing, but without the jail time.)

david williams, Community pharmacist

Fine one talking. Your tone sounds fishy to me.

Cod Fillet, Community pharmacist

Pharmacists like this must be removed from GPhC immediately and indefinitely. It's is embarrassing and shameful.

 

 

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Locum rates would shoot U.K. for sure as there wouldn't be many pharmacists left.

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