A television advert that warns against the dangers of buying fake drugs online is an important reminder for those considering going online to buy treatments for hair loss. The advert, being aired on Channel 4, is so shocking it can only be shown after 11pm. It shows a man taking what appears to be an ordinary pill. But then a look of shock comes over the man as he pulls a rat’s tail from his mouth followed by the rest of the rodent. The advert makes reference to the fact that fake medicines, which are freely available online, can contain rat poison. This can be highly toxic to humans.
The advert is part of the ‘Get Real, Get A Prescription’ public awareness campaign, a national UK campaign. It is estimated that 7 million British people may be putting their health at risk by choosing not to consult a healthcare professional and buying medicine from rogue online websites. The campaign was launched by Pfizer, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPS), the Patients Association and HEART UK.
A survey has revealed that between 50% and 90% of medicines purchased over the internet are counterfeit with global sales of fake medicines expected to reach £45 billion by 2010. In the UK, over two thirds of GPs (67%) have seen patients who have bought medicines from illicit sources. It is thought that the growing trend in buying drugs online is driven by people having less time and by those seeking a bargain. However, this can backfire in more ways than one. As well as being detrimental to a person’s health, the person may be wasting their money and the products may do absolutely nothing to help the condition, and may indeed make it worse.
“We believe people are blinkered to the very real dangers of counterfeit medicine, which is why we’re launching a deliberately hard-hitting campaign to educate them,” says Dr Berkeley Phillips, medical director of drug manufacturer Pfizer. Phillips explained, “Not only are people putting themselves at risk by taking fake medicine but they’re forfeiting invaluable support from healthcare professionals and missing out on important advice and care, which can leave underlying health problems undetected.”
Earlier this year, Mick Deats, Group Manager of Enforcement at the MHRA, told The Telegraph, “The MHRA will not hesitate to take action against those who undermine public health. There is considerable risk to the public from obtaining medicines through unregulated websites.”
When it comes to hair loss treatments, the advice is the same. There are a million and one companies out there that offer “hair loss cures” however it is important to take a precautionary approach to buying products online. There are only two hair loss products that have the seal of approval from the UK’s MHRA and the USA’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a result, Minoxidil and Propecia have been licensed by the MHRA and FDA-approved for the treatment of hair loss in UK and USA respectively. Many products may claim to contain Minoxidil and Propecia, however it can be difficult to tell. Senior hair loss specialist at the Belgravia Centre, Leonora Doclis, says it is essential to “buy prescription drugs from a registered pharmacy” such as Belgravia’s pharmacy. “Online pharmacies do issue a prescription but you do not really know where the drug is coming from. Pharmacies that supply generic drugs do not always have stringent quality control in their manufacturing process,” warns Doclis.
Furthermore it is possible to obtain Minoxidil in various strengths and formulas and the only way to know which strength is best suited to your type and stage of hair loss is to see a specialist.
As well having a team of highly experienced specialists, the Belgravia Centre is the only hair clinic with an in-house registered pharmacy. This means that the clinic is able to prescribe the most effective and safe hair loss treatments available. To see the benefits of undergoing a tailored treatment programme, that is prescribed by a Belgravia consultant, view the large collection of male and female hair loss success stories.
To book a free consultation with the Belgravia Centre, just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. If you are unable to visit the London-based clinic, it is possible to have a consultation via the website by submitting the online diagnostic form. This will be reviewed by the clinic and a treatment advisor will be in touch over the next two working days to discuss treatment options.