Pharmacists are growing increasingly concerned at the rise in the levels of counterfeit or illegal medications being seized in Ireland.
There was a discussion at the annual conference of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) in Wexford on Saturday about figures from the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) which show that almost a million medical doses were seized in Ireland last year, a 40 per cent increase on 2016.
Speaking at the conference IPU executive committee member Caitriona O’ Riordan said that people who ordered medicines online or through other non-official channels were “ignoring decades of healthcare practice that has been established in the best interest of best patients”.
Ms O’Riordan said the most immediate risk of illegal medications was the lack of quality control.
“What is most concerning is that there is no way for anyone to know what is in these supposed medications. Quite often they have been found to be worthless placebos, meaning genuine health complaints and illnesses go untreated, while in other cases the products contain toxins, harmful levels of active ingredients and even bacterial contamination.”
Ms O’Riordan said she was alarmed at the volume (449,411) of anabolic steroids that have been seized, “which indicates a possible rise in the number of people using these drugs to build muscle mass and boost sporting performance. This is an exceptionally dangerous endeavour. Many people do not realise the serious side effects of steroids, which can lead to addiction, and include fatigue, insomnia, decreased sex drive, steroid cravings and even psychosis.”
Source: Martin Wall, 30/04/18