Committing to a hair loss treatment course requires an investment of both time and money – which is why some people turn to the internet for a quick, cheap fix.
But the dangers of doing so were highlighted – yet again – this week when a former doctor was given a suspended sentence for selling hair loss drugs that were not legally available in this country.
Suspended by GMC
According to the Daily Mirror, 68-year-old Raghbir Singh (pictured) set up a website selling over-the-counter drugs in 2011 but soon began selling potentially dangerous unauthorised drugs as well.
Although finasteride is approved in 1mg daily doses as a male hair loss treatment, the dosage of the tablets Mr. Singh was selling is unknown. Proscar and Finpecia, however, are both known to contain 5mg finasteride which is why they are neither suitable nor approved for treating hair loss in the UK. No mention has been made either as to whether the products were real or counterfeit.
Unfortunately, the suspension didn’t mark the end of Mr Singh’s rogue trading. The Mirror states that the former GP – of Three Bridges, West Sussex – next started a business named UKFinasteride.info.
Caught thanks to MHRA
He was caught when investigators from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) took delivery of 28 Finpecia pills from the website, which are illegal for use on hair loss in this country.
Judge Anthony Leonard QC, who handed out a four month sentence suspended for 18 months, said: “There are two aspects which I consider make the offence serious, firstly the importation of Finpecia, which can’t be prescribed in this country. Secondly, you continued to prescribe these drugs after you had been told you should not.”
The hearing was the latest in a long list of similar cases which have helped highlight the risks associated with buying hair loss products from potentially dangerous online sources. Earlier this year, Uganda-born Harish Gorania was jailed for 12 months by Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court after he was found guilty of peddling more than half-a-million pounds worth of fake health products, including potentially dangerous pills aimed at people who were losing their hair. The pills were actually designed for prostate control.
Dangers of buying treatment online
At the time, Belgravia’s superintendent pharmacist, Christina Chikaher, said, “Whilst it can be hard to spot fake hair loss treatments, good signs to look for include basic, unprofessional looking packaging that may also be damaged. A lack of expiry date and no accompanying information leaflet detailing usage instructions and possible side effects can also be giveaways.”
Whilst the obvious allure of getting a ‘cheap deal’ online may have an initial appeal, medication is not an area for compromise or untrustworthy sources. Even if the treatments you buy are genuine, if the source is not reliable and well-established you have no way of being sure they are in their original packaging, and if they have been stored correctly. Particularly when it comes to high strength minoxidil, out-of-date or improperly stored treatments can become ineffective, meaning you will have wasted your money with little chance of recourse.
When it comes to tackling hairloss you are better off speaking to a specialist. At Belgravia, the initial consultation, during which you will be recommended a personalised hair loss treatment plan and variety of payment options, is free and you are under no obligation to purchase the course offered so you can go away and think about it.
Part of each comprehensive treatment course includes the regular monitoring of clients to ensure that there is no compromise on the client’s wellbeing. This is something that we are told time and time again clients feel is a vital part of the overall experience; more proof, perhaps, that “going it alone” in order to save a few pounds may not be worth it in the long run.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.