What does InphA do for consumer protection?
In Germany, the official testing of medicinal product samples is required by law. As an Official Medicines Control Laboratory (OMCL), InphA fulfils this task every day for the six states of Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saarland und Schleswig-Holstein. Since 1995, the staffs of InphA have been testing samples on behalf of the competent authorities, and in this way have contributed to the securing of an acceptable quality of medicinal products on the market, and thereby to consumer protection. The staffs of InphA are convinced that every consumer in Germany has the right to receive high quality medicinal products.
How about independence?
A prerequisite for working in the field of consumer protection is that the persons in charge of assessing the quality are absolutely independent and neutral. The head of the institute, Dr. Konrad Horn explains:
„We check the composition and quality of all medicines on the market. In doing so, our independence from the pharmaceutical industry is the crucial requirement. I am talking about the independence from those companies whose products we analyse on behalf of the six German federal states. Our independence is guaranteed by the financing from public funds and is an integral part of our memorandum of association. Depending on funds from the pharmaceutical industry would create a conflict of interest and undermine our goal of an unbiased pharmaceutical analytics“.
What are the results of the testing?
In the many years of its activity, InphA has experienced that the quality of medicinal products differs clearly in the illegal and legal markets for pharmaceuticals. This is further explained below. The increase in the number of samples from the illegal market is directly linked to the internet becoming increasingly widespread.
The results of the testing are confidential and only disclosed to InphA’s clients, who take the necessary measures, depending on the outcome of the testing.
In principle, it can be stated that the medicinal products that are legally in circulation in Germany are of very high quality. If, in individual cases, the test results are not as expected, they will be traced further by the respective competent authority.
InphA’s findings regarding the illegal market are completely different. Many of the medicinal products sold illegally, for instance via the internet, show in parts severe deficiencies in quality. Medicinal products are found that contain no, too little, too much or a contaminated active ingredient. Often, products advertised as purely plant-based and natural contain, instead of or in addition to the plant-based ingredients, highly active pharmaceutical ingredients, which are not declared on the packaging.
Irrespective of whether you buy them at a questionable internet dealer, under the counter, from a training partner in the fitness studio or on holiday, there is always the danger that you will receive low quality or even harmful medicinal products. It is not surprisingly then that, time and time again, even fatalities are recorded as a result of taking these preparations.