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Former pharmacist imprisoned after selling stolen prescription drugs

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: pharmacist, drug theft, health news

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(NaturalNews) A trained pharmacist and licensed pharmaceutical dealer from the UK has been sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of handling stolen pharmaceutical drugs and selling them from his private warehouse. Hafiz Noorullah, 45, allegedly conspired with Mahmoud Aziz, another man involved, to sell nearly $2 million worth of stolen Parkinson's, high blood pressure, and breast cancer drugs on the internet.

The Yorkshire Post reports that back in 2005, thieves hijacked a tractor trailer truck filled with the drugs that was on its way from Switzerland-based drug giant Novartis to Berkshire, UK. Several years later, investigators discovered that the stolen pills were being sold online from Noorullah's private warehouse, and Aziz, the other man involved, had fled to Canada.

"Mr. Noorullah was not only the responsible person under the license but he had also qualified as a pharmacist and he would know these sort of products, if legitimate, would be accompanied by paperwork," said Andrew Bird, the prosecuting attorney, in response to Noorullah's denial of guilt. Prosecutores are also trying to extradite Aziz back to the UK for trial.

Noorullah, of course, says he did not know the drugs were stolen. But Judge David Higgins, who delivered the ruling, declared that Noorullah knew quite well where the drugs had come from when Aziz first approached him about selling them. Higgins also told Noorullah that his actions were "deplorable," and that he is a "man of great moral turpitude."

The drugs, which were already past their expiration date, had been intended for sale outside the EU. They included Contam, Lopresor, and Femara.

Since 2005, organized crime involving the theft of high-dollar prescription drugs has increased significantly. Back in 2010, a similar heist took place against Eli Lilly and Co., where thieves broke in and stole a whopping $75 million worth of antidepressant pills and other drugs from the company's Enfield, Conn., facility (http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/0...).

Sources for this story include:


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