The Sun.co.uk - Drug giants are ripping off the public by selling the same medicines under different labels
Drug giants are ripping off the public by selling the same medicines under different labels
The Sun also revealed that some vitamins are ineffective as experts say they aren't even necessary
DRUG giants are ripping off the public by selling the same medicines under different labels, a probe has revealed.
And some big-name pills are ten times dearer than stores’ own brands with the same ingredients.
Big drug companies are ripping customers off
Otrivine nasal sprays come in three different boxes — for allergies, congestion and sinusitis.
Yet a Which? probe claims all are medically identical.
They say Sudafed Day & Night Capsules for colds and flu cost £4.50 but are no different from store chain Wilko’s 95p ones.
Pain pills Combogesic and Nuromol, which mix ibuprofen and paracetamol, are ten times pricier than separately buying own-brand versions of the ingredients.
And olive and almond oil work just as well as Earex ear drops.
The watchdog says there is little proof some products, such as Centrum vitamins and Benylin syrup, are necessary or effective.
Its editor Richard Headland said: “You’re sometimes wasting money on medicines as there’s a lack of evidence they work. And there are cheaper alternatives.”
According to Which? some firms declined to show evidence of how their product worked.
They said, through a spokesperson or the manufacturers’ trade body, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), that the regulator had licensed the medicine, and therefore it is safe and effective.
Why won’t the firms show their evidence? The PAGB says it’s because they don’t want to give competitors "commercially sensitive" data.
The health products you don't need
CONSUMER group Which? has these tips when scrutinising over-the-counter remedies:
Ask the pharmacist to explain the risks and benefits of products, or to suggest alternatives.
Be wary of unspecific, meaningless claims such as "stay younger for longer".
Check on the packaging what the key active ingredients are, and if other products do the same for a cheaper price. This also means you won’t buy multiple products that are the same.
Look for cheaper versions of the same medicine. Each has a marketing authorisation ("product licence" or "PL") number. If this is the same on two products, they are the same medicine.
Double-check the full ingredients list, especially if you’re on a restricted diet, so you’re aware of extras such as salt and sugar in medicines. If it’s not stated (as with the salt we uncovered in Jointace Fizz) ask the customer services of the company or your pharmacist.
John Smith, PAGB chief executive, said: "Branded OTC medicines enjoy a long-standing heritage of trust and manufacturers invest heavily in research and product development.
"In order for a medicine to be granted a licence, manufacturers must provide robust evidence to show it is effective before it can be sold in pharmacies and other retail stores."