Saturday 24 March 2018

Mother-of-two fined €3,000 for supplying banned slimming pills

Lydia McCarthy at court
Lydia McCarthy at court

Tom Tuite

A Dublin woman, who began importing and supplying banned slimming tablets which carry serious health risks, has been spared a jail sentence.

Mother-of-two Lydia McCarthy, with an address at Alexandra Place, East Road, East Wall, was fined €3,000 by Judge John O'Neill at Dublin District Court. Judge O'Neill heard she had ordered thousands of "Reduce" slimming pills, which contained an active ingredient that has been withdrawn from markets due to links to strokes and heart problems.

The court heard McCarthy, who pleaded guilty to 16 counts of breaking medicinal products regulations, also had to have her appendix removed as a direct result of her addiction to the slimming pills which she was selling.

She was caught following an investigation by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), formerly known as the Irish Medicines Board, after a package addressed to her was intercepted.

In evidence Brenda Kirby, an enforcement officer with the HPRA, told the court that on September 7, 2012, a package containing 1,200 Reduce tablets was detained at An Post's Portlaoise depot. The pills were analysed and found to contain Sibutramine, a substance which was withdrawn from EU and US markets because of safety concerns.

Ms Kirby said the woman's home was later searched and another package containing 360 of the capsules was found. It was addressed to another person, the court heard.

When questioned, McCarthy admitted placing adverts on four websites: Donedeal, On-and-gone, Gumtree and Dublin online, offering boxes of the tablets at €70 each. Three witnesses admitted buying from her and that the money was paid into a bank account.

McCarthy was advertising them for sale in boxes of 30, priced at €70 each.

It was estimated that her profit was €5,300.

Judge O'Neill noted her co-operation with the investigation, her financial circumstances and the guilty plea which saved the court time.

He convicted her, imposed fines totalling €3,000 and also said she must continue to pay the balance of the prosecution's outstanding costs within six months.

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