Hormones via internet
Let’s be honest: hormones have been available online for many years. There are at least five huge disadvantages to getting hormones from the Internet:
1) Sometimes the dosage isn’t accurate. The quantity of active medicine may match what is announced on the package, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. There may also be other ingredients than announced on the package. See also the report by Transvisie for the implications this can have.
2) The pills may also contain different active ingredients or contaminations. This isn’t visible to the naked eye. Medication may have the same packaging, the same labels, the same shape, the same blister strips as medication from the pharmacy... and yet contain pills with different active ingredients and/or contaminations. We once saw a German documentary in which pills from England were supplied via South America and produced in India. They were produced in pitiful circumstances by people working at home.
3) Importing medication from abroad is not allowed in the Netherlands, the customs office can confiscate the packets. For more information look at the custom office website.
4) Because this way to acquire medicine is illegal, there usually is no reimbursement by the health insurance. The costs can be quite substantial. For example: testosterone for men costs about € 100 per month.
5) Patients have to find a place to have the hormone levels in their blood tested. (In the Netherlands this is now possible at VUmc, but also at http://www.bloedwaardentest.nl/). Some patients choose not to have their blood levels tested (maybe because they cannot afford it). Patients who get their medicine prescribed by a doctor usually get their blood tests free of charge.
But let’s look a bit further than these disadvantages. Let’s look at the case stories of Anke, Bea, and Christel.
Case story on self-determination: Anke