News story

MHRA urges people to be cautious when buying sports supplements

A review into the sports supplement industry ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic games shows the sport supplement industry is improving.

Olympic image

The MHRA carried out a new review of sports supplements to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics, which shows a reduction of sports supplements being sold as unauthorised medicines by almost 50% compared to a similar study carried out in 2012.

The review is part of the MHRA’s ongoing commitment to protect people from potentially dangerous products. This is an encouraging sign and points to the sports supplement industry taking account of MHRA concerns regarding the sale of products regulated as medicines.

The MHRA’s Medicines Borderline section invited 33 UK based companies to carry out a review of their product ranges and subsequently took action to remove unauthorised medicinal products from the market. These contained a number of ingredients which cause a significant physiological effect and would be regarded to be medical products.

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The review found that 69 unauthorised medicines were being sold as sports supplements and 16 companies were found to be selling one or more unauthorised medicines.

Prior to the 2012 Olympic games, the MHRA reviewed 36 sports supplement websites, with 24 found to be selling one or more illegal products. This resulted in 129 illegally branded products being pulled from sale in the UK.

The MHRA will always investigate instances of the sale and supply of unauthorised medicinal products, including those that may be present in sports supplements.

Published 3 August 2016