A new study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal warns that a large number of common medicines contain animal products and vegetarians are unknowingly prescribed the medicines.
Researchers from Manchester Royal Infirmary and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust found that a number of common medicines contained gelatin which is extracted from animal bones or skin.
The researchers conducted a survey of 500 people of mixed-ethnic population in Manchester who had urological symptoms. Around 283 participants were taking medicines of whim 200 people said that they were not supposed to eat animal products.
Around 176 participants said that they would prefer vegetarian medicines but 100 of them said that they were willing to take a drug that contained animal product if there were no alternatives. However the remaining 76 patients said that they would not knowingly take medicines if they contained animal products even though just one in five admitted that they checked with their doctors of pharmacist regarding the drug's content.
The researchers concluded that better labeling practices should be followed in order to inform the public regarding animal product content in medications. "Substitution of gelatin with vegetable-based alternatives and clearer labeling on drug packaging are alternative strategies to help minimize the risks of inadvertently contravening a patient's dietetic beliefs when prescribing oral medication", they said.