The European Industry Commissioner, Dr Gunter Verheugen, recently highlighted the dangers of buying medications online. On Monday 7th December Verheugen told German newspaper Die Welt, “The number of counterfeit medicines arriving in Europe …is constantly growing. The European Commission is extremely worried. In just two months, the EU seized 34 million fake tablets at customs points in all member countries. This exceeded our worst fears.” The problem centres around so-called ‘lifestyle drugs’ for such conditions as excessive weight, sexual dysfunctions and hair loss.
These drugs often contain too much, too little or no active ingredient at all, or they may contain toxic substances which can be harmful to the user. In light of the recent seizures by EU authorities, Verheugen insists that the EU is stepping up its campaign against the counterfeit drugs. In December 2008 new pharmaceutical legislation was designed to improve the medical information available to patients and to help stop the growth of counterfeit medications. The measures include recognisable safety features on legally-produced drugs to make them distinguishable from fakes and measures to more effectively regulate pharmaceutical distributors.
Although the drugs recently seized in the EU were mainly lifestyle drugs, there were also antibiotics, cancer treatment drugs and anti-malaria drugs. In July an EU report suggested that many of these drugs come from India. Verheugen said, “Every faked drug is a potential massacre. Even when a medicine only contains an ineffective substance, this can lead to people dying because they think they are fighting their illness with a real drug.” Verheugen also said there will be new checks such as “anti-counterfeit markings on packaging, in particular a barcode and seal, to clearly show if a package has been opened”.
However, the new measures will not include internet sales of medications. Business Week recently reported that the European Parliament has criticised this decision. German Liberal MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, who sits on the parliament’s industry committee which is overseeing the commission proposals, was one critic. He referred to a statistic from the World Health Organisation – that 80% of counterfeit medicines come from the internet and that this represented a significant health risk.
Whether or not the regulation is implemented and expanded to include internet sales waits to be seen. At present, there are question marks over the cost of stepping up regulation – one estimate from a 2008 study by Europe Economics puts the cost at between 2 billion and 4 billion Euros per year, said Business Week.
While we wait to see the outcome of the commission’s proposal, it is necessary to remind the public of the importance of buying medicines from registered pharmacies. If you suffering from hair loss it is essential to follow this advice also. The Belgravia Centre has an in-house registered pharmacy which produces treatments of the highest quality. The treatments are prescriptive which not only guarantees quality but ensures that your treatment will bring about optimum re-growth and is monitored by a hair loss specialist.
Hair loss affects millions of men and women but it can be easily managed. The Belgravia Centre bases the majority of its treatment courses around Minoxidil and Propecia, the only medications to have been licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA, the medical regulatory bodies in the UK and USA respectively.
To see how effective an individualised hair loss treatment programme can be, take a look at the large collection of male and female hair loss success stories.
The Belgravia Centre offers a free consultation which will give you an accurate diagnosis and the opportunity to discuss treatment options. To book an appointment, call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form for a consultation via the website and a mail order treatment service.