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Couple Receive Prison Sentence for Illegal Possession and Supply of £1.6m of Unlicensed Medicines

Karina Filimonova and Andrejs Stolarovs were each sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to eight months in prison for the illegal possession and intent to supply unlicensed medicines, including prescription only medicines, valued at £1.6m following investigations by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)


The MHRA were notified in 2020 of seizures of parcels containing unlicensed medicines, following an investigation of suspicious parcel activity by the Royal Mail Group (RMG).


The MHRA’s Criminal Enforcement Unit launched an investigation and, supported by local police, arrested the couple at their home in Kidwells Close, Maidenhead, where they were found to be in possession of over 1.3m pills of 65 different brands of medicines used for a range of conditions including sexual dysfunction, infertility, obesity, alcohol and opioid dependence, narcolepsy/ADHD, breast cancer and HIV. The medicines were estimated to be worth £1.6m on the illegal market.


Following the MHRA’s investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought charges against Filimonova and Stolarovs, who pleaded guilty on 13 June 2023 at Southwark Crown Court.


They were each sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and 150 hours unpaid work for possession and intent to supply medicinal products contrary to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.


Andy Morling, MHRA Deputy Director of Criminal Enforcement, said:

“This was a sophisticated operation illegally bringing unlicensed medicines into the UK from Singapore and India, and then distributing them across the country and abroad.


“Criminals trading in medicines illegally like this are not only breaking the law, but they also have no regard for your safety. These are powerful medicines that can lead to serious adverse health consequences if taken without appropriate medical supervision.


“We work hard to prevent, detect and investigate illegal activity involving medicines and medical devices to protect the public and defeat this harmful trade.


“Our Criminal Enforcement Unit will continue working to protect your health by disrupting this harmful trade and bringing dangerous offenders to justice.”


Find Out More

MHRA Safety Advice When Buying Medicines Online


Be careful when buying medicines online.


Medicines and medical devices are not ordinary consumer goods and their sale and supply is tightly controlled. Websites operating outside the legal supply chain may seem tempting, for example, offering a prescription medicine without a prescription. Not only are these sites breaking the law - they are putting your health at risk.


Do not self-prescribe.


Self-diagnosis and self-medication can be very dangerous. If you have a concern about your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and if medicines are prescribed, buy them from a legitimate source.


Visit the #FakeMeds website for tools and resources to help people purchase medication or medical devices safely online.


Notes to Editors

  1. A prescription-only medicine has to be prescribed by a doctor or other authorised health professional and it has to be dispensed from a pharmacy or from another specifically licensed place. It is illegal to advertise prescription-only medicines to the public.

  2. The unlicensed medicines were: sildenafil, vardenafil, avanafil and tadalafil used for erectile dysfunction; dapoxetine used for premature ejaculation; tenofovir/emtricitabine retrovirals used in the treatment of HIV; finasteride used for enlarged prostates and hair loss; clomiphene used to treat female infertility; modafinil and armodafinil used to treat narcolepsy; amphetamine/dextroamphetamine used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD; doxycycline antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections; orlistat used to treat obesity; furosemide used for treating high blood pressure and water retention; isotretinoin used to treat acne; naltrexone used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence; tamoxifen used to treat breast cancer; supplements B-Alert, ProstaGenix, Testrodrene and pumpkin seed oil.

  3. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in the UK by ensuring they work and are acceptably safe.  All our work is underpinned by robust and fact-based judgements to ensure that the benefits justify any risks.

  4. The MHRA is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care.

  5. For media enquiries, please contact the newscentre@mhra.gov.uk.

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