Po­lice to probe on­line sales of con­trolled drug

Sunday Times - - NEWS DRUGS - By PREGA GOVEN­DER and KYLE COWAN

The owner of an on­line fit­ness store this week broke down when con­fronted about al­le­ga­tions that he sold pre­scrip­tion drugs aimed at weight loss and per­for­mance en­hance­ment on the in­ter­net.

The Medicines Con­trol Coun­cil said this week it had asked po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate Jo­han­nes­burg gym sup­ple­ments sup­plier Alan Wake­lin.

The coun­cil said it had re­ceived com­plaints against him over the al­leged sale of the pre­scrip­tion diet tablet Duromine via the in­ter­net.

In e-mails to cus­tomers, which the Sun­day Times has seen, Wake­lin says he can ob­tain any phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­uct, ir­re­spec­tive of the sched­ule, in­clud­ing Con­certa and Ri­talin. Both are Sched­ule 6 drugs and con­tain the stim­u­lant methylphenidate, which is pro­hib­ited in com­pe­ti­tion by the World An­tiDop­ing Agency.

“Yes, we also do the an­abolic good­ies too,” wrote Wake­lin, who is not a reg­is­tered phar­ma­cist or phar­ma­cist’s as­sis­tant.

An­abolic steroids — a chem­i­cal de­riv­a­tive of testos­terone — are com­monly called ’roids, juice, hype or pump. They are pow­er­ful pre­scrip­tion drugs that ath­letes abuse in high doses to boost per­for­mance.

‘Not vis­ually avail­able’

In an­other e-mail, Wake­lin says a prod­uct called Reduphen 30mg could not be added “openly” to his web­site but that he had cre­ated it as a “pri­vate prod­uct”.

“If you have the link or search in the search bar, you will be able to place an or­der, it is not vis­ually avail­able to the gen­eral pub­lic as it is Sched­ule 5 too.”

Wake­lin’s e-mails were sent be­tween Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber last year.

Ap­proached by the Sun­day Times, an emo­tional Wake­lin said he was against the sale of an­abolic sub­stances to any­one who did not have a ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of them and the side ef­fects.

“The prod­ucts I am sell­ing are fat burn­ers and pro­tein shakes, you can see this on my on­line web­sites,” he said.

“They are not pre­scrip­tion drugs. I am a re­seller of branded sup­ple­ments and sports and fit­ness equip­ment.”

Wake­lin said he “doubted” he had de­scribed “Reduphen 30mg” as a Sched­ule 5 sub­stance.

“This was on of­fer for a month or two and then re­moved due to a lack of sales.”

Harm­ful side ef­fects

Wake­lin said his lawyer had ad­vised him not to com­ment on a com­plaint made to the MCC about Duromine, be­cause it was “sub ju­dice”.

The ac­tive in­gre­di­ent of Duromine is phen­ter­mine, which is sim­i­lar to an am­phet­a­mine and can have harm­ful side ef­fects.

South African Phar­macy Coun­cil act­ing reg­is­trar Vin­cent Tlala con­firmed Wake­lin was not a reg­is­tered phar­ma­cist.

“Con­certa and Ri­talin are Sched­ule 6 prod­ucts and can only be dis­pensed by a phar­ma­cist on a valid pre­scrip­tion,” he said.

MCC reg­is­trar Dr Joey Gouws said Wake­lin al­legedly sold un­reg­is­tered medicine and Sched­ule 5 medicine in con­tra­ven­tion of the Medicines and Re­lated Sub­stances Act. “We have in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter and re­ferred it to the po­lice.”

Re­peated at­tempts to get com­ment from the po­lice were not suc­cess­ful.

Wake­lin owns the web­site Your­fit­store.com, which de­scribes it­self as “the No 1 fit­ness store in South Africa”. It ad­ver­tises gym equip­ment, sports gear and “sup­ple­ments”.

A search on the web­site this week for Duromine pro­duced no re­sults.

Alan Wake­lin is ac­cused of con­tra­ven­ing drug-con­trol laws.

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