Birmingham pair given suspended prison sentences for selling medicines online illegally

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Egle Bunkute, 31, originally from Lithuania was sentenced to 14 months’ custody suspended for two years and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Edvinas Ivanauskas, 26, also from Lithuania was sentenced to 44 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

The sentencing on Friday 3 April followed a three-year investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) into the illegal sale of medicines through their website.

MHRA investigators along with officers from West Midlands Police, executed a number of search warrants in March 2017, seizing initially nearly 27,000 tablets and vials with a street value of more than £21,000.

Bunkute and Ivanauskas eventually admitted to supplying or intending to supply containing prescription only and unauthorised medicines after further investigations by the MHRA uncovered thousands of photographic records of the transactions.

The medicines were sent illegally to addresses in the UK, EU, the USA, Canada and Australia. The postage costs for posting these medicines was in excess of £105,000.

Officers also found social media messages between the pair discussing the medicines and ways to avoid detection which clearly showed they knew they were involved in the illegal supply of the medicines.

The business at the centre of the illegal supply of medicines was operated through the website www.uk-rxcart.com which was shut down in 2017 by the MHRA.

The pair were selling Tadafil used for the treatment erectile dysfunction, Prolox and Dapoxetine (premature ejaculation treatments) and Nolvadex/Tamoxifen which are used to treat breast cancer.

Egle Bunkute was also sentenced for offering to supply Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, a growth hormone and class C controlled drug.

They both pleaded guilty to the offences at earlier hearings.

Tariq Sarwar, Acting Head of MHRA Enforcement Group said:

It is a serious criminal offence to sell prescription only medicines without a prescription and to sell unlicensed medicines, we will continue to work relentlessly with regulatory and law enforcement colleagues to identify and prosecute those involved.

Those who sell medicines illegally are exploiting vulnerable people and have no regard for their health. Prescription-only medicines can be extremely strong and should only be taken under medical supervision as they may have potentially dangerous side effects

Criminals selling medicines illegally show a blatant disregard for your health, and only care about making money.

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