8. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons convicted for importing or selling illegal steroids and illegal performance enhancing drugs in each of the years 2014 to 2017, and to date in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49786/18]


Deputy Charles Flanagan: Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, including the provision of information on the courts system.
To be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had inquiries made and the Courts Service has advised that courts statistics are not compiled in such a way as to provide the information sought by the her regarding the number of persons convicted for importing or selling illegal steroids and illegal performance enhancing drugs. I have requested the Courts Service to examine the requirements, including system development and resource issues, needed to enable the compilation of such statistics going forward.
However, she will also be aware that the Health Products Regulatory Authority, HPRA, which comes under the remit of the Minister for Health, is the competent authority for the implementation of EU and national legislation relating to medicines in Ireland. One of the HPRA's roles is to investigate potential breaches of legislation and, where necessary, take corrective action, including legal proceedings. My officials have been informed by the Department of Health that the HPRA initiated ten prosecutions relating to the unauthorised supply of anabolic steroid containing medicines between 2014 and 2017. Of those, seven resulted in a guilty plea or a conviction; two in 2017 and five in 2018, and the remaining three cases are pending court hearings.
The prosecutions have included the offences of manufacturing, advertising and supply without prescription to individuals and for wholesale supply. If any person is offering, facilitating the supply of, or supplying anabolic steroid containing medicines in breach of the legislation, he or she risks investigation at the hands of the HPRA and may face enforcement actions up to and including prosecution.