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Man Prosecuted For Illegal Nutritional Supplements

Ministry of Health

AUCKLAND man Peter Hardwick has been convicted of importing and
intending to sell nutritional supplements containing pharmacy
only and prescription medicines.

The Ministry of Health prosecuted Hardwick, company director
of Takapuna's Physical Action store, on August 13 in the North
Shore District Court.

Hardwick was convicted on 12 charges of importing and having
in his possession for sale a range of supplements containing
pharmacy only and prescription medicines. He was fined $2,700
and ordered to pay court costs of $1,300.

One of the charges related to the possession of 128 bottles
of a supplement containing ephedrine, a pharmacy only medicine.
Ephedrine stimulates the central nervous system and can increase
the heart rate, particularly dangerous for those with high
blood pressure.

Two charges related to importing and possessing for sale the
prescription medicine dehydroepiandrosterone which is an illicit
anabolic steroid used by body builders.

"Mr Hardwick had been in the nutritional supplement business
for a number of years and is well aware of the regulatory environment
controlling the distribution of medicines," Ministry Senior
Enforcement Advisor Steve Anthony said.

"In 1997 the Ministry sent out a general warning to those involved
in the supplements industry, which went to Mr Hardwick, informing
them of the illegality of them selling products containing
ephedrine.

"It is illegal under the Medicines Act 1981 for non registered
persons to deal in scheduled medicines. They can harm the health
of the people consuming them, particularly if they are on other
medicines," Mr Anthony said.

"The Ministry takes the offence seriously and it will act to
investigate and prosecute where it can."

The charges were laid under the Medicines Act 1981 after the
New Zealand Customs Service at Auckland International Airport
found nutritional supplements in Hardwick's baggage on March
15, 1998 and again on August 11, 1998. The Ministry of Health
found the product containing ephedrine when it searched Physical
Action, using powers under the 1981 act.

The New Zealand Customs Service also successfully prosecuted
Hardwick on February 22, 1999, for failing to declare and undervaluing
the clothes and nutritional supplements he imported. He was
fined $1750 and ordered to pay court costs of $130.

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