The Ministry is monitoring all misleading rumors triggered by social media platforms in order to safeguard the health of the community
UAE, Dubai, April 10, 2019: The Ministry of Health & Prevention (MoHAP) has issued a warning against the hazards of buying medicines online or relying on its allegations. In this context, the Ministry has strongly warned against the use of a dietary supplement produced from red rice yeast claiming its ability to unclog blood vessels.
The Ministry further underlined that this product is not licensed by MoHAP and its specifications are unknown, noting that all the communicated information is deceptive and not based on scientific ground, and it can lead to health hazards that may occur to high cholesterol and hypertension patients.
MoHAP said that its inspection team has spotted a video on social media for an Asian man speaking English language alongside some Arabic words. The man was promoting a natural product containing red rice yeast.
He allegedly claimed that the product, after a month-long use, can help in unclogging and cleansing arteries, getting rid of cholesterol, triglyceride, and hypertension, in addition to protecting from heart attacks, as well as improving the blood circulation and enhancing memory, physical activity, and sleep patterns.
Dr. Al Amiri: Promoting dietary supplements that are not registered and are of unknown origin is morally unacceptable
His Excellency Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing, underscored that the promotion of dietary supplements that are of unknown origin and are not registered, whether locally or internationally, is morally unacceptable and may lead to health hazards since there are no sufficient studies and information about the product and its specifications.
Dr. Al Amiri strictly warned members of the society of the daunting risks arising from buying medicines and dietary supplements online to be delivered to their homes, as if they are buying watches or clothes or electronic devices.
He further said: “Buying medicine and dietary supplements online became global practice. Therefore, MoHAP imposes strict measures to reduce the entry of those medicines to the country. These measures include the existence of MoHAP's employees with Customs' employees in the country's airports and ports.”
“If the inspection bodies seized such products, they would refer the package to MoHAP's employees to be destroyed,” Al Amiri added.
Unregistered Medical Products
Furthermore, he shed light on the aftermath of using such unregistered products without referring to the MoHAP, the competent authority to announce the approved drugs across the country.
“Social media platforms are a positive environment, but they might be used for false allegations. In order to increase their followers, some pages exploit people's concerns about finding the treatment of some chronic diseases without using the registered medicines. Unfortunately, this type of information have credibility among some individuals who share or copy or republish this information in forums and chatting apps due to the simplicity of dealing with social media apps,” Al Amiri elaborated.
Al Amiri: Serious complications would happen to patients if they discontinued using medicines because of this false information
He noted that some of this false information, which is widely spread on social media pages, could lead to the loss of confidence in the approved medicines for which the pharmaceuticals conducted lots of researches and spent billions of dollars, in addition to hundreds of experiments and trials before its approval.
He stated that MoHAP has massive budgets to raise the community awareness about these false adverts which may lead to patient discontinuation of using medicines or amending their medication doses without recourse to healthcare practitioners. Thus, this matter disrepute the programmes and medications used in the UAE and reduce patients' confidence in the country's pharmaceutical system.
Importance of referring to the Ministry of Health to confirm the registration of any medications or supplements promoted on social media platforms
The Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing underlined that those who are promoting such misleading information are subject to accountability by the country's competent authorities, as it's related to the country's health security.
“Generating such rumors or triggering them is a violation of the informatics regulations. Consequently, the community awareness about avoiding such misleading rumors related to drugs and pharmaceutical products is in line with MoHAP's awareness efforts and other concerned health authorities” said Al Amiri.
Dr. Al Amiri urged members of the society to contact the Ministry of Health and Prevention to obtain any relevant information of the safety of registered health products in the UAE and its related circulars.