The body that governs medicine in the UK, the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), seized £15.8 million worth of counterfeit and unlicensed medicines at UK borders.
What Fake Treatments were seized?
These counterfeit treatments include fake weight-loss tablets and antidepressants, but it has been reported that over £11million of this was fake impotence medication. That number is on a steep increase. From 2014 to 2015 the MHRA seized fake impotence medicine valued at £3.8 million from a yearly total of counterfeit treatments of £8.6 million. From 2015 to 2016 the amount of fake impotence medicine had tripled to £11 million, making up 90% of counterfeit treatments seized that year. This means that there has been an increase in the demand and prevalence of these medicines.
Where is the demand coming from?
It is estimated that one in five men suffer from impotence. It mostly affects older men, but young men can experience sexual dysfunctions because of anxiety or excess use of alcohol. Erectile dysfunction is becoming an increasingly common problem in the UK. It can seriously affect the sexual life of men and lead to even more serious issues like depression. Over half of men have suffered from some form of impotence by the time they reach the age of 40 and the prevalence is rising every single year.
Due to this there is a black market for cheap knock off impotence medicine that caters to men. Most of the medication is sold on illegitimate sites under names such as Kamagra and Tadagra (and many many others). It is then being sold in pubs and clubs alongside street drugs such as ecstasy or ketamine which can affect male sexual performance. It is often used for sexual enhancement rather than for medical dysfunctions. There is a misconception that the pills can heighten your sexual performance when in fact it can have serious health consequences if used incorrectly.
How Dangerous Are They?
Counterfeit impotence treatment can be ordered from websites that manufacture and produce the pills in India under names such as Kamagra. As this is outside UK jurisdiction the pills are not monitored and could contain little to no active ingredient. Worse yet, these pills could possibly be bulked out with dangerous additives and contaminants. Some batches were even found to contain trace amounts of illicit substances, which could cause you to fail a drug test or suffer serious side effects.
As the counterfeit tablets are not monitored it is impossible to tell exactly how much of them are coming into the country. Over £11 million worth of the counterfeit medication was seized by UK customs last year, however there may be a further undetermined amount still in circulation in the UK. Some of the fake pills seized were proven to have contained arsenic, a dangerous poison. The pills are often bulked out with other harmful additives such as rat poison which can cause serious harm to the body. As the drugs are unlicensed there’s no way to tell how much of the active ingredient the pills contain. The treatments may be completely ineffective or have a dangerous amount of the active ingredient in.
Even the actual intended medication can cause potential side effects if not used properly. For instance, if you take Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) with a nitrate-based medication it can cause a serious drop in blood pressure that could prove fatal. It is always best to get a recommendation from a medical professional and make sure the medicines you use are genuine.
What is the best way to obtain real medication?
There is a belief that buying counterfeit treatments from untrustworthy sources are cheaper alternatives to licensed medications. Viagra does tend to be more expensive, but only because of the brand name. The patent on it has recently expired meaning that other companies are now able to use the generic form, Sildenafil. The drug is a prescription medication meaning that it must come from a doctor. It can be bought from reputable online doctors such as e-Surgery for as little as £7.50 including shipping. Using an online service is fully confidential and also cuts out face to face interactions to avoid any embarrassment. There is no reason to risk your health by using dodgy unlicensed sites to order counterfeit treatments that could cause you potential harm.