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Drugs bought on the internet 'can contain rat poison', warn pharmacists

Pharmacists have said people who buy drugs online are risking their health – and possibly their life.

Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

PEOPLE WHO BUY drugs online are risking their health and even their life, pharmacists have warned.

The Irish Pharmacy Union said there is major concern over people buying counterfeit medicine on the internet as it may be mislabelled, contaminated, or contain the wrong ingredients.

Some blood pressure medication sold on the internet has been found to contain rat poison, the Irish Pharmacy Union said. Some paracetamol has been found to contain chalk and lactose, while counterfeit medicine for reducing cholesterol often contains talcum powder, the IPU warned at its annual conference this weekend.

The supply of prescription drugs over the internet is illegal in Ireland.

“If you buy medicines from the internet or from a non-reputable source on the streets you have no way of knowing whether the medicines are counterfeit or genuine,” said Ultan Molloy, a pharmacist from Mayo.

You have no idea what the medicine really contains, so you are putting your health at serious risk or even death if you take them.

A survey in 2010 by Pfizer found that out of 1,000 people surveyed in Ireland, 1 in 5 had bought prescription-only medicine from illicit sources, including online.

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The IPU warned that suppliers of prescription drugs on the internet are focused on profit rather than healthcare and said many are involved in criminal activity.

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