Health regulators, patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry are launching a campaign to warn consumers about thee dangers of buying fake medicines. The collaboration comes after a steep rise in the purchase of drugs online.
Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, is leading the initiative, which is backed by UK medicines regulator the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and patients groups Men’s Health Forum, H.E.A.R.T. UK and The Patients Association.
The group has created a cinema ad that shows a man coughing up a dead rat (pictured) after taking a pill bought from an illicit website. It has been created by Langland, a design agency that specialises in the healthcare sector, and aims to demonstrate that counterfeit medicines can contain potentially life-threatening ingredients.
The ad will run across 600 cinemas nationally from January 16 and a website, highlighting the dangers of buying medicines from unregulated sources will be launched simultaneously.
It is the first such industry joint-initiative and has been developed in response to research which found that 330,000 men purchase prescription-only medicines from unregulated sources, such as internet sites every year in the UK.