Two pharmacists who sold ‘industrial’ quantities of Class C controlled drugs were yesterday sentenced to two years’ imprisonment each, suspended for 24 months, at Southwark Crown Court following an investigation by the Criminal Enforcement Unit of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

Having both pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, Mandip Sidhu (47) of Littleover, Derby was sentenced to two years imprisonment on each of five counts of supplying Class C drugs and four months for forgery, all to run concurrently and suspended for 24 months on the condition that she completes 200 hours of community service for her role in the illegal supply of diazepam, zolpidem and zopiclone.

Nabeil Nasr (42) of Cheadle, Greater Manchester, received a prison sentence of two years for each of two counts of supplying Class C drugs diazepam and zopiclone and one year for each of two counts of wholesale dealing without a wholesale licence, suspended for 24 months, also on the condition that he complete 200 hours community service.

The offences in both cases, which saw both Sidhu and Nasr illegally supplying Class C drugs on what was described in court as an ‘industrial scale’, took place between May 2013 and June 2017.

Between them, Sidhu and Nasr unlawfully supplied over 55 million doses of Class C controlled drugs. Of those, over 47 million doses were of diazepam.

Both Sidhu and Nasr were pharmacists registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council at the time of offending; Sidhu the director of Pharmaceutical Health Limited (PHL), based in Derby, and Nasr owned several pharmacies across the North West of England.

Ms Sidhu also pleaded guilty to a charge of forgery, in which she made a false invoice in an attempt to mislead an inspector from the MHRA into believing medicines had been sold to a company outside the European Economic Area.

The court heard that PHL, the company of which Sidhu was a director, purchased 4.27 million tablets in August 2014, and 4.5 million tablets in March 2015, even though PHL had not legally dispensed any medicines against a prescription since July 19, 2013.

For perspective, around 5 million diazepam tablets were legally dispensed against prescription in the whole of England during 2014.

These figures were dwarfed by the quantities of drugs passing through the hands of Sidhu and Nasr.

UK Fitness to Practise News

Andy Morling, MHRA Deputy Director (Criminal Enforcement), said:

This sentencing follows a thorough and complex investigation conducted by our Criminal Enforcement Unit.

Our staff showed exceptional determination, skill and professionalism in bringing Nabeil Nasr and Mandip Sidhu to justice.

This successful prosecution demonstrates that the MHRA will use the full range of powers and tools available to us to protect the public from the harm caused by those illegally trading in powerful medicines.

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