Pharmacist sentenced for supplying drugs to criminal associates

  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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A pharmacist has received a 28-month prison sentence for illegally supplying Class B and Class C controlled drugs to criminal associates on the black market.

The prosecution followed an investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MRHA), which revealed that 56-year-old Jasper Ojela, owner of a pharmacy in Dudley, illegally supplied opiate painkillers, tranquilisers and tamoxifen, which is illegally used by bodybuilders to counteract the unwanted effects of other hormone medications.

MHRA inspectors became suspicious when A1 Pharma, a UK-based pharmaceutical wholesaler, reported to the MHRA that during an audit they found that the sale of controlled drugs had not been recorded as such within the company’s management system. This led to an investigation which found that the drugs supplied by A1 Pharma were purchased by criminal groups. These groups illegally diverted medicines from the regulated supply chain by cloning the identity of genuine pharmaceutical companies located overseas and licensed pharmacies.

The investigation proved that Ojela was part of this scheme. The pharmacy was purchasing large quantities of controlled drugs from pharmaceutical wholesalers. The quantities purchased were more than the normal amount that is legitimately dispensed by a pharmacy.

Over a period of eight months, between February and September 2016, Ojela illegally supplied over 200,000 doses of these drugs to criminal associates (estimated street value of £280,490). He purchased these medicines from two different wholesalers.

In addition to the prosecution and prison sentence, the MHRA is also taking court action against Ojela to recover the proceeds of his offences. The General Pharmaceutical Council, which is responsible for the professional regulation of registered pharmacists, is also pursuing disciplinary proceedings against Ojela.