Features

Wednesday - February 08th 2017

Internet purchasing of medical products – nearly all is not what it seems

Purchasing goods over the internet is an increasingly popular way to shop. This may make your purchase of the latest sporting equipment easy and more affordable but when it comes to medical products, it can be a risky way to buy and the product purchased probably counterfeit. For athletes, not only may you be purchasing (or attempting to purchase) a substance prohibited in sport you could be seriously risking your health.

According to the World Health Organisation, falsified medical products affect every region of the world. The falsified product may contain no active ingredient, the wrong active ingredient or the wrong amount of the active ingredient. The same criteria applies to substances prohibited in sport. 

A recent study of doping products seized at the Swiss border found that less than 20% of the products contained the claimed substance in the relevant amount.

Athletes considering internet purchases of medicines are putting their health at risk. Products available on the internet may not be approved for human use and may still be undergoing testing in clinical or laboratory trials. Some are veterinary products approved only for use in animals and others may have no official registration. Products may be non-sterile, contain impurities or contaminants, not contain the specified product and be transported in inappropriate condition. 

Drug Free Sport NZ (DFSNZ) advises that along with medicinal products, supplements purchased over the internet may also be high-risk for contamination and mislabelling. DFSNZ strongly recommend consulting an appropriate health professional if you think your dietary requirements require supplements, or you need medical products.