Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention has warned the public against buying drugs being sold as safe online, citing 90 per cent of such medicines are counterfeit and life threatening, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Ministry also warned those who are promoting such drugs through e-marketing and on social media.

Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for the UAE Ministry of Health’s Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector and vice-chairman of the Medical Licensing Committee, said the WHO considers drug fraud an organised crime as it may lead to the death of thousands of patients and users each year. Most of fake drugs being smuggled to a lot of countries and sold online are rumoured to be fit for treating chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity so as to increase the demand on these products.

“Drug fraud has become a widespread phenomenon. It’s because they are easy to produce and generate high profits. People buy them due to lack of awareness. Counterfeit drugs are usually prepared by mixing hazardous substances that may cause severe health complications, and losing confidence in genuine drugs, healthcare providers and healthcare systems.” Sometimes these drugs are fatal, Al Amiri warned.

He noted that to eliminate this scourge the ministry is taking a number of measures such as organising the Second Emirates International Conference On Combating Medicinal Products Counterfeiting with the participation of ministries, international organisations, institutions concerned with combating fake drugs.

The ministry is monitoring all websites that promote fake drugs where the UAE has become now a key international player in the field of Anti-Drug Fraud.