Warning over fake drugs on Internet
Manama, December 6, 2012
Ordering medical products online could lead to serious problems as some could be counterfeit or have highly toxic components, health officials in Bahrain warned.
The alert comes as the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) was flooded with enquiries about the safety and effectiveness of such medications, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
"These medical products and medicines are typically advertised through e-mail," said NHRA chief executive Dr Baha Eldin Fathea.
"NHRA is also following credible reports from international organisations, including the World Health Organisation, describing the serious and detrimental effects of such medicines," he said.
Dr Fathea warned that most medicines bought online were crushed powder or seeds wrapped in packages with fake marks of the original manufacturer.
He also said reports have indicated as many as 80 per cent of such products had been found to be counterfeit with either no active or toxic components.
"Moreover, they are not subjected to any quality control or safety measures during their production and can have serious repercussions on consumers," he added.
"Medicines require special safety precautions during transport, including maintaining a certain temperature during the entire journey. However, medicines and medical products purchased over the Internet are treated like any mail packages, and are subjected to severe temperature variations which either damage completely whatever therapeutic effects they might have, or increase their toxicity."
He stressed that prescriptions should only be given by physicians who should advise patients on the potential side-effects, the possibility of interaction between these medicines and other drugs taken by the patient, and the reaction between medicines and food ingredients.
He explained that organisations and individuals selling medical products over the Internet often used names of big pharmacies and drug companies to attract customers.
"Sellers of medicines and medical products over the Internet often offer between 80 and 90pc discount on the prices of known medications, particularly those helping to reduce cholesterol and male sexual problems," he said.
"We urge people to be cautious about these schemes and only purchase medicines through pharmacies as they are subjected to strict and routine inspection." – TradeArabia News Service