Pharmacists acting like ‘street drug dealers’


A London pharmacist allegedly sold “hundreds” of Class C controlled prescription medicines to an undercover reporter, the Daily Mail claims

Pharmacists are acting like “street drug dealers,” and “flooding the market” with controlled drugs such as Xanax, writes reporter Glen Keogh in the Daily Mail.

A reporter for the Mail went to a pharmacy in central London, and asked the pharmacist for Xanax, which Mr Keogh writes is “blighting the lives of teenagers across Britain”.

A Daily Mail video shows the pharmacist saying, “60 tablets, £150,” and after the reporter went to a cash machine to get the money, appears to show the pharmacist handing over a box of Xanax and taking the money.

Mr Keogh writes that the pharmacist had “no interest” in asking why the man wanted the medication or why he did not have a script. He did, however, ask if the reporter wanted a bag.

The undercover journalist then asked for Tramadol, which the pharmacist allegedly sold for £250 for 100 50mg capsules.

The pharmacist explained to the reporter that the Tramadol was expensive because it was “controlled drugs that need a red prescription”.

“Before two years ago, it was like antibiotics, but then two years ago… you need special prescription,” he is heard to say on the video.

When the reporter told the pharmacist about the allegations, the pharmacist said that while he knew selling the drugs without a prescription was illegal, he “did not know about the situation”.

The UK’s General Pharmaceutical Council reportedly told the Daily Mail that it would “urgently investigate” the allegations.

The GPhC has been cracking down on pharmacists in recent years, announcing the suspension of five pharmacists in February. According to a Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency investigation, these pharmacists were associated with an “extensive network of criminality” which saw pharmacies diverting drugs onto the black market.

To date 23 pharmacists (six of whom have been suspended) are being investigated by the GPhC for diverting medicines. Eight have been arrested and 50 pharmacies investigated.

The Daily Mail also alleges that this is where diverted drugs, sold without prescription, end up.

Following such a sale “the drugs can then be swiftly sold on through social media to young people in schools and universities where they are increasingly being abused with devastating consequences,” Mr Keogh writes.

It’s not the first time a media outlet has sent undercover reporters into pharmacies to obtain drugs iillicitly.

A 2012 BBC investigation saw nine pharmacists banned from practice after behaviour which the GPhC said would shock the public.

Watch the Daily Mail video here.

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