Self-medicating online can be dangerous
Self-diagnosis and buying prescription drugs online could lead to serious conditions such as heart problems or diabetes not being diagnosed.
That's one of the messages behind a hard-hitting new advert that will hit cinema screens across the country this week.
Created by Pfizer, the manufacturers of Viagra, the advert warns viewers in no uncertain terms about the real risks of purchasing prescription only medicine, without a prescription, from unregulated sources such as illicit websites. The initiative is backed by the Men's Health Forum (MHF), the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Patients Association and H.E.A.R.T UK.
MHF CEO Peter Baker says: 'Buying drugs online from unregulated sites can damage your health as well as your pockets because all too often, men take them without having the cause of their problems diagnosed by a doctor. This can mean that potentially life-threatening conditions like heart disease aren't being detected and properly treated.
'It is vital that men, who are worried about their health, visit a health professional rather than resort to self medicating, particularly through purchases made from unregulated sources.'
Not just ED drugs
Although the advert is made by Pfizer, it is important to stress that problems with online buying are not confined to erectile-dysfunction drugs like Viagra. The risk applies to any prescription-only drug that you might be tempted to buy online.
The 15-certificate advert, which will run at around 600 cinemas from 16 January until 5 March, shows a man coughing up a dead rat after taking a pill bought from an illicit website, to dramatise the possibility that counterfeit medicines can contain potentially life-threatening ingredients such as rat-poison. (The creators stress that no animals - rat or human - were harmed in the making of the ad!)
Selling counterfeit drugs online is illegal. Mick Deats, head of enforcement at the MHRA who are also backing the camapign, says: '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.'
- The MHF's malehealth website provides all the background you need to understand the issues around online buying. It includes an interview with Mick Deats.
- If you feel that your medicine may be counterfeit, contact the MHRA's 24 hour anti-counterfeiting hotline on 020 7084 2701, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more about the advert and campaign, visit realdanger.co.uk
Page created on January 15th, 2009
Page updated on January 16th, 2010