"Khaira diverted vast quantities of controlled drugs"
A jailed pharmacist who sold £1 million worth of prescription drugs on the black market has been struck off.
Balkeet Khaira used his mother’s business as cover for his crimes before he was rumbled.
He made more than £59,000 from the drugs, which are prescribed for pain relief and to treat conditions such as anxiety and insomnia.
Khaira had been working at Khaira Pharmacy, in West Bromwich. When questioned about the drugs racket, he pretended to be his mother.
He admitted five charges of supplying a Class C controlled drug and was jailed for 12 months in February 2021.
A General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC) panel has now ruled Khaira’s fitness to practice was impaired and he breached professional standards.
He has been removed from the GPC’s register.
The panel’s report read: “Khaira diverted vast quantities of controlled drugs, more than 29,000 packets, from the safe supply chain.
“These medications are controlled in order to protect the public and, once illegally supplied to another person, there is a significant risk that these potentially addictive drugs may have been used by people without input from a clinician and without a genuine clinical need for the medication, and without dosing instructions.
“There is no evidence of actual harm but there was undoubtedly a high risk to the public.
“The committee determined that Khaira’s illegal behaviour was so serious as to bring the profession in to disrepute.
“This was not a minor conviction for a matter unrelated to the profession.
“This conviction involved the blatant abuse of the privileged position of a pharmacist to divert a large quantity of controlled drugs, thereby placing the public at risk.”
An investigation had been led by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Police then visited the pharmacy.
Records at the pharmacy revealed hundreds of thousands of doses of diazepam, nitrazepam, tramadol, zolpidem and zopiclone had been bought from wholesalers – but just a small amount was dispensed against prescription.
More than 800,000 pills were unaccounted for. Khaira later admitted that he sold them to drug dealers.
The probe began after allegations the pharmacy was selling large quantities of prescription-only medicine without a prescription.
When medical authorities emailed the business, Khaira pretended to be his mother, saying everything was fine and there was “nothing to be seen here”.
He also said he was “shocked and blindsided” by the accusations before faking evidence in a bid to clear his name.
Khaira eventually told police he had been supplying the drugs to a group of people after meeting someone at a gym.
Drugs would be collected by a “facilitator”. Khaira admitted that some of the money received went into his account rather than into the business.
Khaira did not provide any information on who these people were or who he sold to.
His mother, who was arrested in connection with the crimes, had no involvement in any of the criminal activity.
Sentencing, Judge Heidi Kubic QC told him: “These are serious offences.
“For a period of 18 months, between February 2016 and August 2017, you allowed five different types of addictive class C drugs to be diverted onto the black market in significant quantities.
“Some 29,000 packets were so diverted.
“The pharmacy was run by your mother and your activities caused her to be arrested when she had done nothing wrong.”
Khaira had been a qualified pharmacist since August 2019 and had been working for the family business for several years.
Due to Khaira’s offending, his mother’s reputation has been tarnished.
Grant Powell, the MHRA enforcement officer leading the case, said:
“It is a serious criminal offence to sell controlled, unlicensed or prescription-only medicines in this way.
“Anyone who sells medicines illegally could be exploiting vulnerable people and clearly has no regard for their health or welfare.
“Prescription-only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision.
“We work closely with regulatory and law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those involved.
“If you think you have been offered a medicine illegally, or have any information about suspected or known illegal trading in medicines, please contact the MHRA.”