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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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onlinemedicinesNovember 10 2015

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are attempting to reduce the dangers of buying medicines online by both seizing dangerous medicines, and promoting public awareness of the dangers involved.

This week the MHRA raided an address in Hampshire, seizing an estimated £30,000 worth of potentially dangerous slimming pills. Officers found around 23,000 of the unlicensed slimming tablets, which are becoming increasingly popular amongst the UK public.

The pills have been deemed dangerous because they contain an ingredient called Sibutramine, despite being sold as natural or herbal medicines.

Sibutramine was sold under a variety of brand names including Reductil, Meridia, Siredia, and Sibutrex. However, it was withdrawn from the market in regions across the world, as it has been linked to increased threat of heart problems and strokes.

Danny Lee-Frost, Head of Operations for MHRA, said, "The action we have taken to seize these products demonstrates our total commitment to tackling this dangerous and illegal trade and protect patients."

"MHRA will continue to work with UK law enforcement agencies to crack down on those who put public health at risk."

The Dangers of Online Medicines

A rising number of counterfeit slimming pills being sold online is a worrying trend and Government health officials are keen to point out that people are not aware of what these products contain, and they say a large amount of these often have harmful ingredients.

"The reality is that many of these pills will not be licensed medicines and therefore their contents are unknown. Chances are they simply will not work but may contain dangerous ingredients. The consequences can be devastating."

"To protect your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and buy medicines from a legitimate high street or registered pharmacy which can trade online."

Another reason people look to buy medicines online, is that the internet offers a privacy that can seem an easier solution than talking about potentially embarrassing medical conditions. However, the public must remember that purchasing medicines from these unregulated sites is risking further damaging your health.

Ask Your Pharmacist

And it's not just GPs who are able to help either, Pharmacists can often give you the advice you need whilst offering safe and reliable medicines.

This week, Nov 9-15th, is Ask Your Pharmacist week, and people are being encouraged to ask at their local pharmacy first. This can often save an unnecessary trip to your GP, and is always safer than researching for yourself online.

Links:

Ask Your Pharmacist week

RPS speaks about the dangers of buying medicines online

Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

image: www.freeimages.co.uk

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