7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Bogus drugs alert!

A CALL went out yesterday from the Health Ministry to people to consult their family physician before buying Tamiflu or any other antibiotic in Bahrain or abroad.

It came following reports that counterfeit Tamiflu was being sold on a Bahrain website.

Ministry officials, however, said they were unaware of the website selling the anti-flu drug.

According to a Canadian Press report, British authorities had identified 18 websites, including one in Bahrain, selling what they believed were questionable products claimed to be the anti-viral drug Tamiflu.

The report said the British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had launched an investigation into Internet sales to Britain of drugs purported to be Tamiflu.

The move was spurred by concerns that a combination of fears of flu pandemic and shortages of the drug in the market was fuelling sales of bogus Tamiflu on the Internet.

Health Ministry Public Health director Dr Samir Khalfan said the ministry was unaware that a website in Bahrain was selling the drug.

However, he warned the public not to buy Tamiflu, or any antibiotic from Bahrain or abroad without consulting their family physician.

"I'm not aware of counterfeit drugs such as this being sold in Bahrain," Dr Khalfan told the GDN.

"I don't recommend people buy without a prescription, the drugs might be counterfeit and dangerous. People should not buy from an unknown source."

He said anyone buying medication must have a prescription from their doctor and should not be buying them from places other than drug stores.

According to a report by AFX News Limited, the MHRA had identified seven websites based in the US, three in Britain and two in Canada claiming to sell the anti-viral treatment.

Bahrain, Switzerland, Jersey, Cyprus, Singapore and Malta each had one website. All the websites are being investigated by local authorities, said the MHRA.

Tamiflu, said the report, made by Swiss company Roche Pharmaceuticals, is considered the most effective treatment available to counter the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed almost 70 people in Asia since 2003.

A public awareness campaign has been launched by the MHRA to warn of the dangers of acquiring Tamiflu-style products over the Internet and outside regulated national healthcare systems.

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