Sutton Coldfield pharmacist jailed over £1m black market pills sale

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image copyrightWest Midlands Police
image captionBalkeet Singh Khaira was suspended from the General Pharmaceutical Council's pharmacist register before the case was heard

A pharmacist who illegally sold addictive prescription pills valued at more than £1m on the black market has been jailed for 12 months.

Balkeet Singh Khaira, 37, made about £59,000 selling pills for pain relief, anxiety and insomnia to drug dealers.

He admitted five counts of supplying controlled class C drugs at Birmingham Crown Court.

Khaira, of Sutton Coldfield, sold the drugs while working at his mother's pharmacy during 2016 and 2017.

The medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA), which led the investigation, said his mother was not involved in any criminal activity.

The agency looked into allegations that Khaira Pharmacy in West Bromwich was selling large quantities of prescription-only medicine without a prescription.

It said the defendant had "pretended to be his mother" when contacted about the investigation by the General Pharmaceutical Council, claiming to be "shocked and blindsided" by the accusations.

The MHRA, working with West Midlands Police, said records at the pharmacy showed "hundreds of thousands of doses" of diazepam, nitrazepam, tramadol, zolpidem and zopiclone had been purchased from wholesalers.

However, only a "small percentage" had been dispensed against a prescription.

It left more than 800,000 pills which Khaira, of All Saints Drive, later admitted he had sold to drug dealers, the agency said.

He has admitted the charges but claims after a voluntary sale to dealers he was "forced to sell" further drugs, the agency said, adding he had refused to provide information on who these people were.

Grant Powell, the MHRA enforcement officer leading the case, said prescription-only medicines were "potent" and needed medical supervision.

"Anyone who sells medicines illegally could be exploiting vulnerable people and clearly has no regard for their health or welfare," he said.

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