29/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 18:00

Man jailed for £4.7m counterfeit medicine fraud

Category: England

Published: 8th Apr 2011 18:44:04

A man has been jailed for eight years for his part in what has been described as the most serious fake medicine fraud in the European Union.

Peter Gillespie, 64, from Hertfordshire, was part of a £4.7m plot to bring two million doses of counterfeit drugs from China to the UK.

He was convicted of conspiring to defraud pharmaceutical wholesalers, pharmacists and members of the public.

He was convicted by a jury at Croydon Crown Court.

By mimicking authentic, properly manufactured and tested medicines, Gillespie illegally infiltrated the regulated system designed to protect the public and pharmaceutical industry, the court heard.

The counterfeit medicines contained only a fraction of the correct dosage.

They included Zyprexa, a medicine to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Andrew Marshall, prosecuting, said patients had been put at risk by his fraud.

"This case is considered to represent the most serious breach of the medicine control regime - it's the most serious breach that has happened in the EU," he told jurors.

"It has had far-reaching effects for the pharmaceutical industry, control mechanisms, patients and the confidence of the public."

The case arose from a £750,000 three-and-a-half-year investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Mick Deats, head of enforcement, said after the trial that 72,000 packs of counterfeit medicine - with a retail value of £4.7m - penetrated the UK supply chain between December 2006 and May 2007.

Some 25,000 of these packs reached pharmacies and were given to patients.

The MHRA was able to seize 40,000 before they got to pharmacies, and 7,000 were recovered following recalls.

Although the drugs contained just 50% to 80% of the correct ingredients, Mr Deats did not believe they caused any fatalities or adverse reactions.

At Croydon Crown Court, Gillespie, of High Street, Bovingdon, was also found guilty of selling or supplying drugs without a marketing authorisation between January 2006 and June 2007.

Jurors also found him guilty of a charge of acting as a company director while disqualified.

Mr Deats added the MHRA now hoped to seize anything Gillespie obtained through his scam in a proceeds of crime hearing.

Four other men - his brother Ian, 59, of The Green, Marsh Baldon, Oxfordshire; Richard Kemp, 61, of School Lane, Y Waen, Flint, north Wales; Ian Harding, 58, of Lower Westwood, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire; and James Quinn, 70, of Virginia Park, Virginia Water, Surrey - were acquitted of all charges.

Another person connected to the case had already been convicted in the US.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Man jailed for £4.7m counterfeit medicine fraud [Online] (Updated 8th Apr 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/144602/Man-jailed-for-4-7m-counterfeit-medicine-fraud [Accessed 29th Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Man guilty of abusing Alex Salmond on Twitter

    A man has been convicted of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner towards First Minister Alex Salmond on Twitter.
  • 'Deprived Londoners left behind' by lack of transport access

    Londoners in deprived areas are less likely to have easy access to the capital's transport system, a London Assembly Labour group report has said.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Fifty Shades of Grey director's home visited by police

    Police have been called to Fifty Shades Of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson and actor husband Aaron's home after a machine gun was spotted in the house.
  • Eurozone anxiety overshadows EU summit

    In the midst of cascading international crises, Europe's leaders are set to meet for an unusual Saturday summit.
  • Many new mums leave hospital too soon, say midwives

    A survey by the Royal College of Midwives suggests that up to 40% of women may be being discharged from hospital before they are ready after having a baby.