Warning of online purchasing counterfeit supplements

Supplements industry: identifying the manufacturer on the National registry of dietary supplements is an assurance of a quality purchase.

Health: experts warning of counterfeit supplements online, Rome, 10 July (AdnKronos Salute) – Warning of online purchasing: counterfeit dietary supplements alert. PoolPharma Research conducted an ad hoc study. According to the study, the supplements market in Italy has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2013, it recorded almost €2 billion of sales. An even more significant number, given that according to Euromonitor International data, only Italy has seen growth in this area in the last 5 years, passing from 1.4 to 1.5 billion dollars of sales, if you consider the rather more modest figures for the supplements market recorded in France ($742 million), England (727) and Spain (206).

There is a need therefore to be wary of suspicious distribution channels, in the ever broader sphere of online sales. The latest Eurisko findings estimate that in the last year around 250,000 Italians bought dietary supplement on the Internet: from vitamins to herbs, mineral salts to lactic bacteria. “Today 80% of supplements are sold in the pharmacy, but online sales are becoming ever more widespread: it’s important to pay attention to the type of supplement that you are buying on the web. It is necessary that the product is from a manufacturer certified by the Ministry of health.” Commented Camilla Pizzoni, coordinator of Research and Development of PoolPharma. “There are in fact substances that cannot be used in supplements, and unfortunately online they are given equal importance, as well as products that contain banned substances. Therefore it is important that the consumer also read the label,” she continued “for ensuring the greatest safety possible before use.”

The risk of taking counterfeit supplements is higher than you might think. And, as well as the risk of counterfeit supplements, one should also consider that, “The supplement is still just a supplement to a diet, that can provide energy macronutrients – proteins and carbohydrates – or micronutrients – mineral salts and vitamins. Therefore it should be taken as a supplement, only when there is a need.” Warned Pizzoni. The commonest error is in regarding supplements as actual medicines and then using them carelessly, relying on self-diagnosis more than the advice of an expert, doctor or pharmacist. “The advice of the fastest can be of valid use and 80% of consumers of supplements seem to think so. The pharmacist and, even better, a doctor can give the appropriate advice especially because they know the risks associated with any interaction between supplements and medicines.”

Therefore, in order not to compromise your health, rely on the experts and do not abuse supplements. And for online shopping addicts? Follow the rules given by the manufacturers. First of all carefully read the label to check the active ingredients and that they are permitted by European and Italian regulations, on the site of the Ministry of health. There you can find a list of authorised substances and associated indications for health. Check the dose and then verify they do not contain banned substances. Lastly, check the manufacturer is on the national registry of supplements, which also includes a list of firms who have notified products to the Ministry of health.