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Flint businessman wanted to protect his ‘dirty business’, trial told

A COURT has been told that five businessmen accused of plotting to sell fake Chinese-manufactured medicines in a multi-million pound scam were determined to ‘protect their dirty business’ despite the risk to public health.

In his closing speech – after more than three months of evidence – Andrew Marshall, prosecuting, told Croydon Crown Court the defendants continued importing the fakes even after a respected drug wholesaler raised concerns that eventually contributed to their downfall.

One of the accused is pharmaceutical wholesaler Richard Kemp, 61, of School Lane, Y Waen, Flint Mountain.

The other four defendants are accountant Peter Gillespie, 64, of Carey Close, Windsor, Berkshire; Peter Gillespie’s accountant brother Ian Gillespie, 58, of The Green, Marsh Baldon, Oxford; salesman Ian Harding, 58, of Lower Westwood, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire and pharmaceutical wholesaler James Quinn, 69, of Gillespie House, Holloway Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey.

Medicine watchdogs ordered a Class One recall of all suspected drugs, taken by heart and cancer patients and mentally ill people, resulting in shelves cleared in pharmacies all over the country and half of the 73,000 fake packs recalled.

AAH Pharmaceuticals told Kemp the medicines he supplied were ‘tatty’ and ‘well-travelled’ as the defendant tried to rush the deal through, Mr Marshall told the jury.

He continued, referring to the defendants: “Their priorities were to protect their dirty business and continue to sell counterfeit pharmaceuticals.”

Mr Marshall told the jury it was obvious Kemp knew the drugs purchased by Basingstoke-based Consolidated Medical Supplies, (CMS) which he funded, were from the Far East.

Kemp cancelled the purchase initially because the stock – anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa – arrived in a Brussels warehouse water-damaged.

However, the prosecutor said that Kemp happily sold them once they were repackaged.

CMS’s unsuspecting pharmacist had told the jury the first batch of imported medicines was repackaged by the Gillespie brothers and collected by Kemp, who drove them away in the back of his car.

Mr Marshall dismissed the defendants’ attempts in the witness box to distance themselves from the scandal.

He said none of them wanted to admit ownership of the goods.

But he continued: “There has in this courtroom been a desperate last-ditch attempt to explain something that cannot be explained.”

About 100,000 doses of fake medication ended up in the hands of patients.

The charges relate to Casodex, used to treat advanced prostate cancer; Plavix, a drug prescribed to prevent blood clots and prevent heart attacks for angina patients and Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic drug prescribed to schizophrenic and bipolar patients.

All five defendants have pleaded not guilty that between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007, they conspired together and with others to defraud pharmaceutical wholesalers, pharmacists and the public.

They also deny two counts each of selling or supplying the three drugs without authorisation and selling or supplying counterfeit goods.

The jury retired on Tuesday to consider its verdict.