Most Drugs Have Ingredients That Come From Animals Interview with:
Kinesh Patel, Research Fellow
Wolfson Unit for Endoscopy
St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow HA1 3UJ, UK What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Patel: Most drugs prescribed in primary care have ingredients that come from
animals, but the animals they come from is not always clear and whether the
drugs are suitable for vegetarians is difficult to find out conclusively,
even after looking at information available on packets, information
leaflets and on the internet. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Patel: Yes. We did not expect such a large number of drugs to contain animal
products and were also surprised at the poor quality of information
available to people who wish to know where the ingredients in their
medication come from. Despite searching a large number of data sources,
information on animal origins and manufacturing ingredients was very
difficult to find, even for healthcare professionals. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Patel: Clinicians should discuss patients’ dietary preferences with them before
prescribing medication and find out directly from companies if the products
contain ingredients that would not be compatible with the patient’s views.
Patients should not discontinue any medications but should discuss the
results of this study with their physician if they are concerned about the
tablets they consume. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Patel: Future research could look at drugs used in hospital practice to see if the
same issues apply as well as over-the-counter medications.


Suitability of common drugs for patients who avoid animal products
Kate C Tatham and Kinesh P Patel
Published 4 February 2014  BMJ 2014;348:g401

Last Updated on February 5, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD