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MHRA investigates 14 cases of fake or unlicensed COVID-19 medical products

06 April 2020

An increasing number of bogus medical products being sold through unauthorised websites claiming to treat or prevent COVID-19 are being investigated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

These include self-testing kits, ‘miracle cures’, ‘antiviral misting sprays’, and unlicensed medicines.

At this time, there are currently no medicines licensed specifically for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 and there are no CE marked self-testing kits approved for home use.

The MHRA has disabled nine domain names and social media accounts selling fake or unauthorised COVID-19 products.

Lynda Scammell, MHRA enforcement official said: "Don’t be fooled by online offers for medical products to help prevent or treat COVID-19.

"There is no medicine licensed specifically to treat or prevent COVID-19, therefore any claiming to do so are not authorised and have not undergone regulatory approvals required for sale on the UK market. We cannot guarantee the safety or quality of the product and this poses a risk to your health.

"The risk of buying medicines and medical devices from unregulated websites are that you just don’t know what you will receive and could be putting your health at risk.

"We are working alongside other law enforcement agencies to combat this type of criminal activity."

This advice is part of the MHRA’s ongoing #FakeMeds campaign which aims to encourage people who buy medical products online to make sure they are purchasing from legitimate sources.

To stay safe when buying medicines and medical devices online, the MHRA advises that you purchase from a registered pharmacy – either from the premises or online. Registered online suppliers can be found here. If people suspect they have a dodgy medicine or medical device they can report if via our safety monitoring system - the Yellow Card Scheme.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau is also seeing reports from victims who have lost money when they have tried to purchase PPE or self-testing kits online, from fraudulent websites, that simply do not exist. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to Action Fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.