Convenience stores fined for illegal sale of prescription drugs

The illegal medicines had been sourced in Poland and sold in three stores
The illegal medicines had been sourced in Poland and sold in three stores

A retail company has been fined for the illegal sales of prescription medicines from its specialist Eastern European ‘Polita’ convenience food stores in Belfast, Lisburn and Ballymena.

Food retail company European Delicatessance (2008) Ltd was fined £800 (plus court costs) at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to the charges.

The conviction followed inspections by Medicines Regulatory Group (MRG) officers from the Department of Health, focusing on the illegal sales of prescription medicines from unauthorised premises throughout the Province.

Department of Health enforcement officers visited the company’s ‘Polita’ convenience food stores in Albertbridge Road, Belfast; Bow Lane, Lisburn; and Lower Mill Street, Ballymena in October 2015, seizing substantial quantities of illegal medicines found on open sale.

Some 74 different types of medicine and over 2,000 doses were seized during the visits.

The illegal medicines were of Polish origin and included those for the treatment of infection and for pain relief.

Peter Moore, senior medicines enforcement officer with the Department of Health, who led the operation, said: “This conviction demonstrates that we are committed to pursuing those involved in the illicit supply of prescription medicines in whatever circumstances they may be found. If you require treatment for a medical condition or need to obtain medicines, you should always use your GP or pharmacist.”

Professor Mike Mawhinney, head of the Medicines Regulatory Group, added: “Buying medicines through unregulated sources can put your health at serious risk.

“I trust this conviction will send a clear message that the department will continue to be proactive in regulating the sale of medicines and in maintaining public safety.

“To this end we will continue to conduct further inspections and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where necessary.”