Egypt has 2,000 Facebook medical pages that do not depend on any tests in patients for diagnosis and prescriptions/ Pixabay
CAIRO – 9 January 2017: There has been an upsurge in Facebook pages in Egypt providing medical consultations and prescriptions to their likers. The phenomenon is alarming as these pages are unlicensed to assume such work and tend to promote counterfeit medications.
Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee at the Egyptian Parliament unveiled that the number of pages that fit this description reached 2,000 pages and that they enjoy high engagement, meaning that many citizens trust these “electronic clinics.”
Committee Member Ahmed Badawy stated that a woman lost her life in Menoufeya after consuming diet pills prescribed by one of these pages, as reported by her family.
Member of Health Committee at the Parliament, Samy el-Mashad, said that expired and counterfeit medications are often sold online, suggesting that this should be monitored by the Ministry of Health.
Parliament passed a law in August incriminating broadcasting any advertisements on medications or medical services without receiving a license from the ministry. Otherwise, the penalties for advertisers would be paying a fine or prison.
Member of Parliament Ahmed Zidan added that such law made many of those who used to advertize such fake drugs on television resort to social media to promote their products. He stressed that there should be awareness campaigns to inform citizens on the risks of following prescriptions and accepting diagnosis by such pages.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Health issued a Tuesday warning against text messages promoting medications, and indicating the dosage and instructions for use.