Around 3.5 million unlicensed erection pills worth more than £10 million were seized in the UK in 2019 according to new figures released by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The MHRA is warning people not to take a chance with fake medicines as it launches the next phase of its #FakeMeds campaign, this time focusing on fake erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines sold online.
Erectile problems in general affect up to 21% of men in the UK, which is equivalent to 4.3 million men in the UK. Despite this, it has been found that 44% of men with ED aged 40 and over have not sought medical help and may be buying fake products online.
The MHRA’s enforcement team has worked with UK Border Force to seize millions of unlicensed medicines at the border. Often illegal traders pose as legitimate suppliers, selling medications that are unlicensed for the UK market and offering tempting prices lower than the real deal. Since the launch of the #FakeMeds campaign in 2016, the MHRA has been continuing to crack down by closing illegally operating sites selling unlicensed products.
More than half of all medicines and medical devices bought online are fake or counterfeit, highlighting the need for enforcement activity and public awareness to protect and improve the UK’s public health.
With this new phase of #FakeMeds the agency is using the campaign to encourage people who buy medication online to make sure they are purchasing from safe and legitimate sources.
It also encourages people to report suspected dodgy ED drugs, and any side effects experienced to the Yellow Card scheme. The Yellow Card scheme helps the MHRA monitor the safety of all healthcare products in the UK to ensure they are acceptably safe for patients and those that use them.
Mark Jackson, MHRA Head of Enforcement, said:
“Fake ED drugs might not give you the result you want or even make you ill. Any medication bought from an unregistered website may be fake and will not meet quality and safety standards.
“We encourage people not to take a chance with fake medicines – make sure you are buying from a legitimate source.”