Beware of fake coronavirus medications: Healthcare inspectorate warning

The Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate warned Netherlands consumers to be careful of medicines advertised to work against the coronavirus Covid-19. "There are no medicines or vaccines against the coronavirus yet," the Inspectorate said.

In the Netherlands it is illegal to advertise unregistered medicines claiming to be effective against a disease, virus or condition. "But manufactures and suppliers often seek the loopholes of the law," the Inspectorate added. Other countries also don't have these restrictions and advertise online.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recently called on people not to order medicines from abroad via the internet, and the Inspectorate supports this call, the Inspectorate said. "These (fake) medicines can contain very harmful substances that are not allowed to be in medicines. They can lead to serious health problems and there is no supervision on the quality of these products."

Early this month Customs officers intercepted over 8 thousand units of medicines and fake medicines, mainly involving antivirals used for malaria and anti-cold medicines like paracetamol.