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The Dorsal View

The colour of money from ill-gotten gains

It was interesting to note recently the prosecution of a 33-year-old woman for the illegal advertising and administration of Melanotan II injections. A significant number of people availed of the service and the supplier made a tidy sum.

Ms Anne Marie McAleer of Bridgeview Apartments, Cloverhill Road, Clondalkin, Dublin, was importing, advertising and selling Melanotan II injections and promoted her wares through Facebook — which makes one wonder, where were the quality control people in Facebook when this was going on?

The injections were administered to customers’ abdomens by a person with zero medical experience and frankly, it’s a minor miracle nobody was seriously injured before Ms McAleer was hauled into the dock. Just to be clear, Melanotan II is not licensed anywhere in Europe and the US and is implicated in increased risk of melanoma and mole growth. However, she managed to have it sent from the US via good old-fashioned post. So she wasn’t even sure of the quality of what she was getting.

Someone eventually identified her on Facebook and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) stepped in and prosecuted her. It was discovered that she was also selling diet tablets, with this particular variety known as ‘Pinky’s Diet Pills’.

The HPRA was quick to issue a press release, with Director of Compliance John Lynch stating: “This case involved the importation, supply and advertising of an unauthorised medicine, and the advertising of a second unauthorised medicine, both of which could pose a serious risk to the health of anyone taking them without medical supervision… there is no way for consumers to know what substances such products actually contain and consequently they can pose a serious risk to their health. We strongly advise that consumers should only take prescription medicines when prescribed by a doctor and dispensed in a pharmacy.”

That’s all well and good but if the courts are not on board, we are wasting our time. The court heard that Ms McAleer got involved in the scheme because she wanted to be less reliant on social welfare payments and contributions from a former partner; I’m guessing she succeeded because at €50 per injection, she managed to make €20,000 from her endeavours.

Perhaps the judge took into account the fact that she was expecting her sixth child but with each offence carrying a 12-month jail sentence and fines of €4,000 per charge, she got away with a single fine of €4,000 and escaped a jail term. That’s a tidy €16,000 profit, but crime doesn’t pay.

Does it?

‘Bath’-time

This may be a topic that psychiatry specialists could shed more light on, but there is an interesting theory behind the recent descent of a small flight of stairs at the White House shared between President Donald Trump and UK PM Theresa May.

In case you missed it, as they emerged to the salivating throng of photographers, Trump grabbed May by the… hand, causing a furore in certain circles and representing the first of what will surely be many bizarre photo opportunities of his term.

However, those close to ‘Agent Orange’ have said the action was not one of affection or dominance, but rather ‘bathmophobia’ — not your dog avoiding a wash after a muddy afternoon at the park, but rather an irrational fear of stairs and steep ramps.

It’s a term recognised by the American Psychiatric Association and generally falls under the broader category of a fear of heights — or more accurately, a fear of falling. As the saying goes, ‘it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop’.

But this doesn’t gel — pun intended — with Trump’s admitted fear of germs. A self-confessed germophobe, he freely admits that he washes his hands at every possible opportunity and said in his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback: “One of the curses of American society is the simple act of shaking hands and the more successful and famous one becomes, the worse this terrible custom seems to get.”

So there is some information worth its weight in gold for Enda when ‘The Donald’ comes to visit Ireland — just get him on a filthy and steep flight of stairs and he will be powerless.

Hawkins House would have been perfect.

Off the charts

To finish, just a couple a one-liners gratefully received from a reader. 

“Conjunctivitis.com — it’s a site for sore eyes.” 

“The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.”

“The doctor told me, ‘I have some good news and some bad news. But don’t worry, I’ll give the good news to your widow.’”

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