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Man Prosecuted For Illegal Nutritional Supplements

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.

ENDS


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