The Ministry of Health monitored a website that promotes water-diet capsules. The advertisement reads: “We live outside your country but we can direct you to a specialised centre that is licensed by us when using our medical tablets or capsules. Due to our increasing number of customers, we can only follow up your case through our e-follow up system."
Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Policy and Licensing at the Ministry of Health, brought to light the practice of buying and selling on the internet without knowing the identity of both, buyers or sellers. Unfortunately, such purchase operations also include medical and health products such as supplements and cosmetics.
Some of these products are not registered in the UAE or internationally, and are not supervised by the Ministry of Health.
Additionally, the companies or individuals promoting such products are all outside the country and thus away from liability or legal prosecution.
Misleading ads have dangerous effects
Dr Al Amiri emphasised that being influenced by misleading advertisements and buying medical or health products through the internet, blogs or social media networking are dangerous because these products are not licensed by the ministry of health. “It is difficult for us in the ministry to know the components of these products, their safety or manufacturing standards.”
The safety of these drugs is unguaranteed and ineffective and not compatible to the international drug standards which could lead to dangerous results, even death sometimes.
Research and studies reveal the dangers of buying drugs through the internet
Dr Al Amiri said that international researches and studies have also stressed on the dangers of buying drugs online. The World Health Organisation reports that more than 90 per cent of traded drugs through the internet are fake; commercial fraud is not limited to bold treatment drugs or whitening and weight loss products only but also to coronary and heart, kidney failure and cancer drugs.
Drugs and pharmaceutical products that are taken without any medical prescription may have adverse effects on health and organ failure, too. Products promoted as natural or herbal have proved to comprise chemicals. Some are internationally prohibited, too.
Safety and health of UAE society
Dr Al Amiri assured that the Ministry of health is very keen on providing quality healthcare in the UAE through stipulating laws and legislations that would control the registration of medical substances and pharmaceutical products as well as supplements and medical devices.
The registration process involves strict procedures. The ministry calls on the community to cooperate in eliminating such practices.
Sellers do not carry any legal or moral responsibility since they are sold through the internet; competent authorities seldom reach these sellers who manage to run away with high amounts of money.
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