Police to probe online sales of controlled drug
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.