Warning over the danger of fake or unlicensed medicines

Health Minister Robin Swann has warned of the danger of using unlicensed prescription medicines for the treatment of Covid-19.

The Minister said: “My Department’s Medicines Regulatory Group has been made aware that unlicensed anti-viral drugs have been illegally imported into Northern Ireland. This fake medicine claims to be for the treatment of Covid-19. 

“I urge the public not to be fooled by online offers for medical products.  Some of these so called medicines could potentially do more harm than the virus.  Be in no doubt, medicines sourced in this way present a real danger to those taking them.  This problem is not something we can tackle in isolation and my Department will continue to work with other agencies to disrupt the supply of illegal medicines.

“Clinical trials are currently ongoing to find a treatment for Covid-19 however there currently is no medicine licensed specifically to treat or prevent the infection.”

Illegally imported medicines are not authorised and have not undergone regulatory approvals required in the UK.

The Chief Medical Officer said: “The risk to the public due to unlicensed medicines is significant. I would urge the public to be vigilant and to avoid putting their health at risk by using medication from an unknown source.People should only take prescription medicines after an appropriate consultation with their GP or other healthcare professional and source them from a registered pharmacy.”

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