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Fines for selling prescription medicines over Net

8 May, 2006

Fines for selling prescription medicines over Net

Fines against companies found guilty of selling prescription medicines over the internet

Three companies and an individual were fined approximately $33,000 in the Hamilton District Court today, after admitting to selling prescription and other medicines to overseas purchasers over the internet and to the advertising the medicines over the internet.

Medsafe's principal technical specialist Dr Stewart Jessamine stressed that buying medicines over the internet is not a victimless crime and can be very dangerous to the health of patients to use prescription medicines without medical advice or supervision.

"Today's sentencing sends a message to New Zealand suppliers that irrespective of where your website is situated, or where the medicines are ultimately supplied from, if the route of supply originates in a New Zealand entity and the sale takes place in New Zealand, you are committing an offence under New Zealand law and may be prosecuted. Medsafe will continue to prosecute those found to be committing similar offences." Dr Jessamine said.

Ink Media Ltd, Ink Electronic Media Ltd, Standard 304 Ltd and one of the companies' directors, Wallace Leslie Waugh, faced numerous charges at a hearing late last year and were found guilty of the charges in February this year.

At today's sentencing hearing Wallace Leslie Waugh and Ink Media Ltd were fined approximately $33,000 in total, with court costs still to be decided. In addition, Ink Electronic Media Ltd and Standard 304 Ltd were also convicted and ordered to pay court costs.

Ian Wallace Waugh, the remaining defendant at the centre of this case, and the son of Wallace Waugh, was absent overseas during the proceedings and a warrant has been issued by the Court for his arrest.

Ian Wallace Waugh was to be sentenced today but his sentencing has been adjourned in the Hamilton District Court to Friday 26th May. Judge MacLean will also consider prosecution costs at the same time.

The charges faced by the three companies and Wallace Leslie Waugh included selling a prescription medicine without a prescription, selling medicines by wholesale transaction without holding a wholesale licence, selling new medicines without Ministerial consent for distribution, unlawful possession of medicines and breaching advertising restrictions.

At the hearing late last year, the court heard the combined enterprise had a turnover of over $10 million from November 2001 to August 2003.

********


Background Information -

The companies had advertised prescription and other medicines without providing legally required information including potential adverse effects, warnings, precautions and notification of the classification of the medicine.

Through Ink Electronic Media Limited and Ink Media Limited and using a Fijian company, the defendants caused medicines, including prescription and restricted medicines, to be supplied to overseas consumers.

ENDS

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