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PJ Online: “Herbalist” fined in Ireland

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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 266 No 7154 p870-872
June 30, 2001

News summary


“Herbalist” fined in Ireland

A self-styled herbalist who escaped justice in Britain for allegedly selling unlicensed creams containing steroids for the treatment of eczema has been fined IR£3,000, with IR£2,700 costs, by a court in the Irish Republic.

Donal Walsh, 60, of Askeaton, County Limerick, who pleaded guilty to six charges of illegally selling such products, was said to have since given up the business, which he had operated in Britain and Ireland through hotels and by mail order.

The prosecution, taken by the Irish Medicines Board, the state’s medicines watchdog, was the first of its kind in the Irish Republic.

Mr Walsh was prosecuted in Britain on similar charges, but failed to appear in court. The case against him was adjourned nine times at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court last year, with Mr Walsh’s lawyer claiming that his client was too ill to attend (PJ, November 27, 1999, p844).

On June 19, a court in Newport, County Tipperary, heard that Mr Walsh marketed Cherrydex cream containing steroids through the Cherryfield Herbal Company, with an address in Limerick. He claimed it was a natural, herbal remedy, selling at IR£30 a tub, and that people bought it on that basis, in some cases to treat children’s eczema. But a medicines board officer told the court that the uncontrolled application of steroid cream not only worsened children’s eczema, in extreme cases it could also stunt growth. The instruction with the cream was to apply it all over the body, six times daily. In the case of one adult, repeated application thinned the epidermis of that face so much that the veins became visible.

Counsel for Mr Walsh claimed that it would be unfair to cast him as a back-street steroids seller doing damage to people. He had operated an upfront clinic and felt he had a good product. He had now given up the business.

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