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Pharmacists selling drugs illegally

17th December 2012

An investigation by undercover BBC reporters has found a number of chemists were prepared to sell prescription-only drugs illegally.

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The reporters were sold drugs such as Valium, Viagra and Amoxicillin at nine pharmacies in London in return for cash.

Pharmacists are only able to sell prescription-only drugs without a prescription if it is a "medical emergency".

However the BBC's Inside Out programme found a number of pharmacies were prepared to sell their reporters Valium for cash at prices of up to £85. Nine of the pharmacies provided the reporters with the antibiotic amoxicillin.

Dr William Shanahan, of Central and North West London NHS Trust, said: "The pharmacists are putting patients' lives at huge risk - it's disgraceful, reprehensible and inexcusable."

Over the course of a few weeks, the undercover reporters were able to purchase 288 Valium tablets, 294 amoxicillin tablets, 24 Viagra tablets, 21 temazepam tablets and one bottle of Oramorph. 

Environmental health consultant Dr Yunes Ramadan Teinaz said: "Antibiotics - when misused - can stop working for everyone else." 

"You or I may have developed resistance because of the foolish actions of these pharmacists. There are very real dangers to the wider community."  

The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "Quite frankly I was lost for words. People will be shocked to see pharmacists acting like small time drug pushers." 

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