Briton jailed for selling fake India-made Viagra | world | Hindustan Times
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Briton jailed for selling fake India-made Viagra

A Manchester-based businessman, who earned millions of pounds selling fake India-made Viagra tablets over the Internet, has been jailed for two years following lengthy investigations by security and health officials.

world Updated: Jun 09, 2009 10:33 IST

A Manchester-based businessman, who earned millions of pounds selling fake India-made Viagra tablets over the Internet, has been jailed for two years following lengthy investigations by security and health officials.

Martin Hickman, 49, admitted to charges relating to dealing in fake and unlicensed medicine and money laundering in the Southwark crown Court yesterday. His earnings from the Internet-based sale funded a luxurious lifestyle.

Hickman has been prosecuted after a lengthy investigation by the Medicines and Health Care Productions Regulatory Authority.

Many of his Viagra customers quickly realised they had been duped but were too embarrassed to complain.

During the investigation, officials found that his website, MSH World Traders, had a turnover of 6.1 million pounds in just three years and earned him a profit of 3.4 million pounds.

Some of the pills he was buying from India and selling to clients all over Europe were found to be fake and some were made to look like the licensed Viagra products.

Judge Deborah Taylor said: "Whilst no bulk quantities of these drugs were found at your premises, your account with the Post Office indicated that you were holding stock of drugs worth half a million."

Hickman said he believed the trade in unlicensed drugs similar to Viagra was legal and that he operated the business as a call centre on behalf of the company based in India. He claimed that he did not knowingly supply fake Viagra and he had bought the merchandise believing it to be the real thing.

Investigators came across Hickman's website and raided his farmhouse home. The site was closed down, but Hickman continued to trade and in 2007 was jailed for three months for ignoring the injunction.

After the latest trial, Hickman was jailed for two charges of supplying unlicensed Kamagra and Lovegra, and under other charge of supplying counterfeit Viagra, advertising prescription-only drugs, possessing unlicensed drugs and money laundering.