How Safe Are Your Medicines? (Channel 4)

A major investigation revealing how thousands of unsafe medicines, which are used to treat conditions such as prostate cancer, schizophrenia and epilepsy, were dispensed to British pharmacies and subsequently given to NHS patients.

The programme exposes the extraordinary story of how, in 2014, millions of pounds worth of these vital, life-saving medicines, were stolen from Italian hospitals by criminal gangs linked to the Mafia, before being entered into the legitimate European parallel supply chain, through bogus companies in Eastern Europe. These medicines were then traded through a grey market of prescription medicines, called parallel trading, where medicines can be passed through multiple countries and hands before finding their way into British pharmacies.

By definition, once a medicine is stolen, it becomes classed as “falsified”, as there is no guarantee of how they have been handled and stored or whether they have been tampered with, which could render them ineffective.

Reporter Antony Barnett uncovers how the largest purchaser of these stolen medicines we a company that owns one of Britain’s best-known high-street pharmacy chains and that medical authorities were aware of the infiltration in the British medicine supply chain but failed to inform the public or those whose lives may have been put at risk.

Reporter: Antony Barnett
Producer Director: Jo Burge
Executive Producer: Miki Mistrati
Executive Producer: Adam Vandermark
Production Executive: Pete Hirst
Editor: Steve Barnes
Production Manager: Uschi Teh
Assistant Producer: Oliver Smith