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Counterfeit Internet drugs pose significant risks and discourage vital health checks
Date:1/20/2010

Men who buy fake internet drugs for erection problems can face significant risks from potentially hazardous contents and bypassing healthcare systems could leave associated problems like diabetes and high blood pressure undiagnosed. That's the warning just published online by IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

Medical and pharmaceutical experts from the UK, Sweden and USA carried out a detailed review of the growing problem of counterfeit drugs. Estimates suggest that up to 90 per cent of these illegal preparations are now sold on the internet.

The review, which covers more than fifty studies published between 1995 and 2009, provides a valuable overview of the scale of counterfeit internet drugs, with a specific focus on erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs.

These have played a key role in driving the growth of counterfeit drugs, with studies suggesting that as many as 2.3 million ED drugs are sold a month, mostly without prescription, and that 44 per cent of the Viagra offered on the internet is counterfeit.

"The presence of unknown pharmaceutically active ingredients and/or impurities may lead to undesirable and serious adverse events, even death" warns lead author and journal editor Graham Jackson, a London-based cardiologist.

"We discovered that 150 patients had been admitted to hospitals in Singapore after taking counterfeit tadalfil and herbal preparations that claimed to cure ED. Seven were comatose, as the drugs contained a powerful drug used to treat diabetes, and four subsequently died."

But it's not just erectile dysfunction drugs that pose a risk, as Dr Jackson points out: "In Argentina, two pregnant women died after being given injections of a counterfeit iron preparation for anaemia and 51 children died in Bangladesh of kidney failure after taking paracetamol syrup contaminated with diethylene glycol, which is widely used as car antifreeze."

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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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