Deaths row pills for sale by the hundreds at the click of a mouse
CONTROVERSIAL DRUGS AVAILABLE ONLINE Alert over beta blockers which killed teens
A controversial beta blocker drug linked to the death of two schoolgirls is available in vast quantities online at the click of a mouse.
Propranolol, which lowers the heart rate, is being prescribed by GPs to young people to help them tackle stress.
Campaigners have voiced fears over its use in such cases amid fears it can lead to fatal overdoses.
Last week, we told how the death of schoolgirl Lucy Curran, 16, of Giffnock, Glasgow, has been linked to the drug.
The St Ninian’s High School pupil passed away in February.
Her death was the second to be associated with propranolol, two years after Britney Mazzoncini, of the city’s Carndonald, died after taking the drug.
Both girls were prescribed the drug by their GP. But our investigations discovered substantial consignments of the drug can be shipped from overseas without the purchaser being asked about their symptoms.
The easy availability of the drug– developed 50 years ago by Scots scientist Sir James Black – on unregulated websites has triggered further concern.
One site, registered to an address in the Czech Republic, offers propranolol under a trade name Inderal at £ 30.99 for 60 tablets at 80mg dosage.
The cheapest shipping option – airmail – took the cost to £ 41.
We placed an order after simply supplying a date of birth which made the buyer appear to be 18.
The site offered to ship two free viagra pills for every order.
Another site, based in North America, offers 360 of the 40mg pills for about £ 160, heavily discounted from the usual price of about £250.
On other sites which ship from India, the drug is available for as little as 22p per pill.
Dealers also use Facebook to tout prescription- only pills.
Drugs bought online can range from those manufactured by well- known pharmaceutical companies to counterfeits made in unregulated underground factories.
The consequences of the availability of drugs online can be devastating.
Student Phillipe Pycroft, 18, of Bolton, died in 2015 when he took large doses of propranolol he bought online.
He had been prescribed a low dose of propranolol by his GP weeks before his death to help with anxiety.
But after complaining to friends the prescribed dose was not helping, he bought a batch of much stronger 80mg tablets from an internet pharmacy apparently based in Canada.
His parents said the package he received actually had a postmark from New Delhi.
Phillipe died from heart failure after an overdose. A verdict of suicide was recorded but his family believe he never meant to kill himself.
A Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency spokeswoman said: “We work hard to stop the diversion of prescription-only medicines on to the black market.
“Prescription-only medicines are, by their very nature, potent and should only be prescribed by a doctor or appropriate healthcare professional.
“We would advise people not to buy medicines from unregulated sources as they pose a danger to their health.”
A Scott ish Government spokesman sa id: “Using medicines that have not been prescribed by a qual i f ied healthcare professional is extremely high risk.
“We would absolutely recommend avoiding selfmedicating using drugs obtained online in the UK or abroad.”
CLICK & COLLECT Drug can be bought easily online without prescription
FEARS Death of teenager Lucy Curran was linked to beta blocker