Increasing number of fake treatments for COVID-19 sold online, say experts

An increasing number of bogus medical products claiming to treat or prevent Covid-19 are being sold online, including self-testing kits, "miracle cures" and "antiviral misting sprays".

An increasing number of bogus medical products claiming to treat or prevent Covid-19 are being sold online, including self-testing kits, "miracle cures" and "antiviral misting sprays".

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says it is currently investigating 14 cases of such unlicensed items being sold through unauthorised websites.

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There are currently no medicines that are licensed specifically to treat or prevent Covid-19, meaning that any claiming to do so have not undergone required regulatory approval for sale in the UK.

Increasing number of fake treatments for COVID-19 sold online

The MHRA says it has already disabled nine domain names and social media accounts for selling fake coronavirus-related products.

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

"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."

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The MHRA's ongoing campaign, #FakeMeds, aims to encourage people who buy medical products online to make sure they are purchasing from legitimate sources.

It advises that all medicines and medical devices should be bought from registered pharmacies, either from the premises or online.

Suspicious products can be reported to the MHRA via their monitoring system, the Yellow Card Scheme.

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud relating to the purchase of medical products or personal protective equipment (PPE) should also report to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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