Holford advises readers to “Search the web for US suppliers” of smart drugs. Yes, really.

I’m not really sure what to say. At the end of Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind (2007 Piatkus edition, p. 489) readers are advised to search the web for US suppliers of smart drugs that aren’t available over the counter in the UK. Regardless of the evidence for the efficacy of smart drugs (I don’t find Holford convincing on this), this is a very irresponsible thing for him to suggest. Frankly, I’m surprised that Piatkus were prepared to print this (ethical issues aside, it would not look good if a reader ordered some dodgy drugs off the Internet, and damaged their health as a result).

As a test, I googled ‘buy smart drugs’. The first page of results and adverts included everything from magic mushrooms, to dubious diet pills, to a range of pharmacies of near-enough unverifiable quality and reliability. While I’m not suggesting that Holford or Piatkus would recommend such drugs and suppliers, it is worrying that Holford did not give more safety information to his readers

While I imagine that Holford Watch readers know this already, I should say that importing drugs into the UK using the Internet is, at best, risky. It’s extremely hard to know whether or not you’re getting what you expect – and drugs can, as Holford likes to emphasise, be very dangerous.

Anyway, the FDA offers a nice guide to buying drugs online, and also gives a list of some of the risks involved:

Some websites that sell medicine:
* aren’t U.S. state-licensed pharmacies or aren’t pharmacies at all
* may give a diagnosis that is not correct and sell medicine that is not right for you or your condition
* won’t protect your personal information

Some medicines sold online:
* are fake (counterfeit or “copycat” medicines)
* are too strong or too weak
* have dangerous ingredients
* have expired (are out-of-date)
* aren’t FDA-approved (haven’t been checked for safety and effectiveness)
* aren’t made using safe standards
* aren’t safe to use with other medicine or products you use
* aren’t labeled, stored, or shipped correctly

MEET AND TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR
* Talk with your doctor and have a physical exam before you get any new medicine for the first time.
* Use ONLY medicine that has been prescribed by your doctor or another trusted professional who is licensed in the U.S. to write prescriptions for medicine.
* Ask your doctor if there are any special steps you need to take to fill your prescription.

Some of these points only apply to US readers, but I imagine that you get the picture.  So, is Holford aware of these risks? And, if he is, why didn’t he warn his readers?

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3 Comments

Filed under New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, patrick holford

3 responses to “Holford advises readers to “Search the web for US suppliers” of smart drugs. Yes, really.

  1. The MHRA has an equivalent page: Buying medicines over the Internet.

    By the way, you seem to have me on your blogroll twice, not that I’m complaining of course!

  2. Second thought, what does Holford mean by smart drugs? Ampakines?

  3. Thanks for the link, Coracle.

    Holford states that “over a hundred ‘smart drugs’ have been developed” (p. 413). He specifically mentions Deprenyl and Piracetam (pp. 414-5).

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