No guarantee of quality with unlicensed vitamin D products
Colin Michie’s article on the risks of vitamin D self supplementation makes many useful points, including the risks associated with excess vitamin D (Clinical Pharmacist, 2016;8:131). But there is one major issue that was not highlighted: the vast majority of vitamin D products sold through pharmacies and elsewhere are unlicensed food supplements, some at high, and potentially toxic doses. Such products have no external control or monitoring of their manufacturing, unlike licensed medicines, batches of which must be signed off by a qualified person. Therefore, the formulation, excipients, colouring, etc, can change from batch to batch and we have no guarantee that they contain the amount of vitamin D stated on the label.
There is actually a dearth of vitamin D products, licensed as medicines, which can be sold over the counter. I do wish that manufacturers and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency would get on and produce some licensed medicines for sale in pharmacies.
Declaration of interest: Brian Curwain has acted as a consultant to Internis Pharma, manufacturers of a prescription vitamin D product range
Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20201177
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