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Woman Convicted of Possessing Illegal Prescription Medicines by Offering Botox Injections at East Belfast Home

On 6th August 2017, a woman, aged fifty years, was convicted in the Belfast Magistrate Court for having been in possession of illegally prescribed medicines. She had an intention of supplying the medicines from her home to the people of East Belfast. Barbara Byrne, who lives around Orby Road, managed to secure a conditional discharge after she pleads guilty to four charges. She was granted a two-year conditional discharge pending a hearing at the court. Among the charges that she was convicted for include unlawfully possessing the Lidocaine HCl and hydrate epinephrine jabs, offering unlawful and unauthorized local anaesthetic prescriptions and advertising online the supply of botulinum toxin (Botox) medicines. Such medications are offered by licensed medical practitioners and licensed suppliers. Therefore, it is termed illegal for any other ordinary citizen to be found in possession and supply of the medications.


The following is a breakdown of the charges Ms. Barbara Byne was convicted for. On 23rd February 2017, Ms. Barbara was in possession of medicinal products with the intent of supplying them to the public, which is contrary to the regulations of Human Medicines Regulatory Body. On the same date, she had made an online advertisement regarding her possession and supply of Botox and other cosmetic medicines. On 9th November 2016, Ms. Barbara made an online advertisement that could lead to the use of prescription medicines against the contravention of 2012’s Human Medicines Regulation. Between 9th and 23rd November 2016, sold, offered to sell, and even supplied unauthorized medicines for products namely the Lidocaine HCl hydrate Epinephrine jabs to the public, an aspect which is also against the requirements of the Human Medicines Regulations.


The Department of Health Medicine Regulatory Group decided to conduct a warrant search at Barbara’s residential home back in February 2017. In the search process, they managed to recover various unauthorized medical products belonging to the Asian origin. A further investigation was conducted, which revealed that Ms. Barbara Byne had placed various online adverts on different social media platforms that she is offering Botox prescriptions to the public. The Department of Health’s Senior Medicine Enforcement Officer, Peter Moore, explained that the Botox prescriptions, which are sometimes used in conducting cosmetic procedures such as Botox treatments you get from a registered clinic’s website, can only be prescribed by a licensed and trained healthcare professional. Besides, the procedures should be conducted by a professional healthcare provider such as a doctor, dentist or pharmacist.

No other person can offer such prescriptions and conduct the required procedures, unless under the direction of a professional. He further warned the public of the dangers associated with purchasing and using Botox medications from unlicensed outlets. According to Peter Moore, it is not worth the risk to purchase such medicines from unregulated and unlicensed individuals who tempt users with offers of cut prices. such suppliers might have acquired the drugs from dubious sources, and individuals are uncertain of the quality and satisfaction of the medications, together with the competence of suppliers.


The Medicines Regulatory Group head, Professor Mike Mawhinney, also warned that such illegal activities as the ones conducted by Ms. Barbara Byne pose various risks to the healthcare system. He assured the public that the Department of Health will remain vigilant in tracking illegal suppliers and maintain public safety.  A government review that was published in 2013 regarding the cosmetics industry revealed that various non-surgical treatments are offers to consumers, more especially the dermal fillers and Botox injections. These procedures are beyond the control of regulatory bodies since the suppliers are careful in conducting the illegal activities. Therefore, just like Ms. Barbara, there are many illegal suppliers who endanger the lives of consumers out there at the expense of enhancing their income. Most of the cosmetic surgeries and non-surgical operations conducted are not regulated, causing adverse impacts to the users’ health.


The above case is a clear illustration of the illegal medicinal procedures conducted, especially in the growing cosmetic industry. Users may not be aware of the adverse impacts such prescriptions can have on their health since most of them find it an attractive deal to purchase and use the medicines at low prices compared to the prices offered by licensed suppliers. To curb the growing illegal transactions, a thorough inspection needs to be conducted in the cosmetic industry to track and convict illegal medicinal suppliers, just like Ms. Barbara Byne. The Ministry of Health has a responsibility of ensuring the safety of the public by arresting and convicting the offenders to help curb the growing supply of such illegal medicines and prescriptions.

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