Backworth doctor illegally got pain medication for bad back when GP refused prescription
A doctor illegally obtained pain medication for his bad back from abroad when his GP refused to prescribe it to him.
Hospital medic Mubasher Ahmed had a remote consultation with a medic in Sudan to get a supply of pregablin and diazepam, then had friends bring the pills into the UK. Newcastle Crown Court heard the registrar also had a supply of pregablin being illegally imported from India but the packages were intercepted by Border Force officials.
The 34-year-old, of Priory Avenue, Backworth, North Tyneside, admitted possessing and improper importation of Class C drugs and has put his career in jeopardy. He claimed he had limited knowledge of the way prescriptions work in this country as he was not involved in dispensing in his role but needed pain relief for his back after a failed operation.
Recorder Nathan Adams questioned whether Ahmed had been that “naive” but told him: “You easily could have checked whether it was lawful to obtain those substances from abroad in the way you did. You failed to do so and that is why you find yourself here, having committed these criminal offences.”
The judge told Ahmed it was a “very stupid criminal mistake to make” and sentenced him to a conditional discharge for one year, with an order to pay £500 costs.
Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court Ahmed’s home was raided in October 2020 and pregablin and diazepam tablets were recovered from his bedroom and study. She added that two parcels from India were intercepted, in August and October 202, and each contained 450 capsules of pregablin.
Miss Dowling told the court: “He told police of his health issues, he was in pain. He told them he requested further medication from his doctor but they had refused to prescribe it as he was having other medication and there were contraindications of using both of them.
“He said he remotely consulted a doctor in Sudan and his family, who lived in Sudan, arranged for family friends to bring them to him.” Ahmed explained that the drugs in the house were those left over from that delivery. He said he had stopped taking the illegally obtained medication as it had been too strong for him.
He initially claimed he knew nothing about the drugs being imported from India and said they must have been ordered by his family but later accepted he was involved in obtaining them. Miss Dowling added: “He has maintained throughout he really has limited knowledge of the way prescriptions work in this country as he was not a dispensing GP, he worked in hospital. “
The court heard prosecutors accept Ahmed had no plan to give the drugs to anyone else but Miss Dowling added: “The prosecution case is he essentially ignored medical advice and obtained drugs improperly.”
Richard Bloomfield, defending, said Ahmed, who is currently too unwell to work, made a “stupid and foolish mistake” that could cost him his career. Mr Bloomfield said: “He has put himself in considerable jeopardy. Not only has he lost his good character, he also, in due course, will have to answer to his regulator for his conduct.
“He tells me he has reported it to them and they await the outcome of this hearing before taking any steps. There is always a risk he may well find himself unable to practice medicine. Those tablets, it has been accepted by the prosecution, were for his own use, to manage chronic back pain after a failed back operation.
“He had no access to specialist pain services at the time, hence his remote consultation in his home country.”
Mr Bloomfield said Ahmed, who qualified in Sudan, was “completely unaware” of the legal regulations around prescriptions in the UK.