Admare Jinga, 31, was sentenced to 240 hours community service after being found guilty of false representation.
Between 2007 and 2009, Savec Healthcare sold medications online, mostly to customers in Zimbabwe, that it claimed could ‘kill’ HIV and prevent symptoms of immune deficiency.
Jinga, who now lives in Scotland, had already admitted a charge of marketing medicines for human use without an MHRA licence.
He claimed in court that he was working with pharmacists and a microbiologist in Zimbabwe to fight the devastating effects of HIV, and that no customer had ever complained about his products.
His claim to be an alternative therapist, as opposed to an online scammer, was rejected by the court.
Jinga was prosecuted directly by the MHRA, which commented that this case was the first of its kind for them. “There are no known cures for HIV, so any claim to this effect is illegal,” the agency noted.
The case reflects the severity of unmet medical need in Africa, where treatment for HIV is often sub-optimal, as well as the ease with which unlicensed ‘medicines’ can be sold online into ‘emerging markets’.