Risk of purchasing medications via Internet

Health-related technology is undergoing a transformation driven by Internet domination in everyday life. The results of these technological developments can be seen through the development of activities and advertisements related to health. The ability of people to surf the internet such as blogs and social media in a variety of mediums provide opportunity for certain groups of people to promote and influence the public in making choices related to health products.

Be careful when buying pharmaceutical products via the internet, post or courier services. Public are advised not to be easily taken by any medical advertisements on the internet. Purchasing pharmaceutical product through online pharmacy over the internet may put your health at risk. Products sold over the internet are doubtful because of uncertain quality, safety and efficacy.

Products are sold through the Internet are harmful to health due to the following reasons:

  • the safety, quality and effectiveness of products to consumers cannot be assured.
  • detail advice on the use of drugs is not obtained from the qualified healthcare professional.
  • there is risk of purchasing counterfeit products which can lead to death.
  • may cause unexpected side effects, such as severe allergies, shortness of breath sudden or a situation that exacerbates the illness.
  • there is no healing effect because they contain wrong active ingredient or do not contain active ingredient.

The counterfeit product may contain dangerous active ingredients such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium or lead derived from the raw material which could lead to death. Furthermore, products sold over the internet may originate from unlicensed premises that do not provide hygienic environment and do not have certification from the authority to manufacture pharmaceutical products.

All pharmaceutical products intended to be sold in Malaysia need to be registered with the Ministry of Health. A registered product has the registration number (e.g. MAL20085264A) and the MeditagTM  hologram label.

Registered Product Search can be conducted using the search words in this portal by clicking the icon ‘Search Registered Products’ using either:

  • product name
  • registration number/registration holder
  • active ingredients
  • manufacturers name

If the product is a registered product, the registration status will be displayed. All products to be registered are evaluated for their quality, efficacy and safety towards consumers prior approval by the Drug Control Authority (DCA) and available for public. After verifiying the registration number, consumers are advised to verify the authenticity of the Meditag hologram security label. Hence buying pharmaceutical product over the Internet is not safe at all.