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South Australian man faces criminal charges for dealing with counterfeit and unapproved medicines

4 January 2019

Following investigations by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on 30 November 2018, the Adelaide Magistrates Court sentenced a South Australian man in relation to illegal acts involving counterfeit therapeutic goods. The man was charged with the following:

  • 1 criminal charge of dealing with counterfeit therapeutic goods in Australia under section 42E(1) of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth);
  • 1 criminal charge of use of therapeutic goods in reliance of advertising that causes harm or injury to a person under section 42DL(1) of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth);
  • 1 criminal charge of supply therapeutic goods in Australia not included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) under section 19B(4)(a)(iv) of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth); and
  • 8 criminal charges of import therapeutic goods for use in humans not included on the ARTG under section 19B(4)(a)(i) of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth).

The man pleaded guilty to all of the above charges.

The man was convicted of all counts, fined and sentenced to five months imprisonment that was suspended upon the man entering into a good behaviour bond for a period of two years. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs. The court also ordered that all goods seized as evidential material be forfeited to the Commonwealth under section 54 of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth).

Dealing counterfeit and unapproved medicines is a serious offence

Selling counterfeit (fake) medicines is illegal and can cause serious harm to others. The TGA has the powers to investigate and take action against individuals or organisations found to be guilty of dealing with counterfeit medicines. Actions we can take range from warning letters to criminal prosecution, which may lead to jail time.

Consumers should be cautious of counterfeit medicines

This situation is a reminder to consumers that counterfeit medicines do exist in the market. However there are some easy steps consumers can take to avoid these products.

It is recommended that consumers only buy therapeutic goods from reputable sellers such as pharmacies and supermarkets. Particular caution should be shown if buying medicines and medical devices online, as there may be no way to tell whether those products have been evaluated by us for safety, quality and efficacy. Many counterfeit medicines are purchased online, and could include undisclosed ingredients, no active ingredient at all or be extremely dangerous to your health. We recommend seeking advice from a doctor or pharmacist before a purchase.

For more information, visit our buying medicines and medical devices online web page.