Investigation Uncovers Unregulated £11 Gender-Blocking Hormones Accessible to Minors

An investigation has found that children have access to sex-blocking hormones on the internet. These hormones are available without prescription and can be bought for as little as £11 per month. 

Cass Review Casts Doubt Over Medical Interventions

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Dr Hilary Cass was asked to review gender identity services offered by the NHS. Her conclusion was that the field suffered from a lack of reliable evidence when it comes to prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. 

Report Led to a Review of Services

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Following the conclusion of the review, the gender identity services offered by the NHS came under much tighter regulation. Now, stringent criteria have to be met for patients to receive cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers.

Child and Adult Treatment Laws Differ

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In the UK, the rules around prescription differ based on age. Cross-sex hormones are prescribed to adults by the NHS, but it is illegal to supply such drugs to under 18s. 

Worry Teenagers Will Access Medications Online

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There are concerns from many quarters that teenagers will go online to purchase potentially dangerous and low-quality hormone treatments. 

Websites in Various Countries Offering Hormone Treatments

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The Guardian investigation found that pharmacies in India, Hong Kong and Portugal offered feminising treatments for as little as £10 for 28 days. The hormones were available without a prescription. 

Barriers Almost Non-Existent

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The websites warned that the products were only available to those over 18, but there was no requirement for proving age or identity, so site users easily bypassed any safeguarding measures. 

Access to Misinformation Also Worrying

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To further fuel concerns about unscrupulous organisations preying on vulnerable teenagers, various online retailers are selling unlicensed injectable hormones. This approach is nicknamed ‘homebrewing’ and can lead to disastrous consequences.

Experts Warning Against Unregulated Medicines

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Dr Alison Cave, from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said: “Patient safety is our top priority, and we strongly advise that people do not self-prescribe or try to obtain medicines from an unregulated source.”

It’s Not Only Ill-Informed, It’s Illegal

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Dr Cave added: “A prescription only medicine may only be sold or supplied lawfully in accordance with a prescription issued by an appropriate healthcare practitioner. It is also illegal to sell or supply unauthorised medicines.”

Concerns Self-Administered Hormones Can Cause Severe Issues

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Clinical psychologist Dr Aiden Kelly said: “We are already seeing patients coming to us where things have not been properly supervised, and they have poor outcomes as a result. These are people who have either sought treatment abroad or online.”

Calls For More Information About Cross-Sex Hormones

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​​The Bayswater Support Group, which works with parents of transgender children, said: “Vulnerable children and young adults must be told the truth about puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones: the evidence base is very weak, and there are known risks.”

Groups Asking for More Open Access to Hormone Experts

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One of the concerns is that the Cass review will push more people into a desperate situation where they risk mental health issues. There’s a suggestion that following the reduction of access to experts in 2020, suicide risk in the trans community increased. 

The Trans Safety Network Behind Calls for More Access to Experts

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Worried about the potential psychological issues, the group said, “The near-removal of these pathways will lead to young people being exposed to risk and taking measures into their own hands.”

Difficulty of Inexact Sciences

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The reality of gender identity in the young is that it is impossible to determine the ‘right’ age to allow transition. Evidence shows that anywhere between 1 and 8% of trans people detransition at some point, so there’s a duty of care to ensure a level of certainty is established before treatment starts.

Numbers Change in the Young

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Recent research into gender identity in teenagers shows that between 60 and 80% of teenagers who presented as gender dysmorphic changed their minds within a few years. 

Establishing the Correct Age to Allow Access Difficult

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Suppose the majority of gender dysmorphic children change their minds by their late teens. In that case, it’s inappropriate to allow access to hormonal treatment too early, where lasting damage can be done to the body. 

Online Access to Hormones Needs to be Banned

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The important point is to close the access to online shops selling unlicensed and unregulated hormone treatments. By doing this, you reduce the risk to the vulnerable people in the trans community.

Trans Safety Network Against a Ban

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They say, “Any attempt to ban online distributors will further push young people away from the commonly used grey market online pharmacies with legitimately manufactured medications to less established sources, with unknown additional risks.”

Too Much Uncertainty to Allow Ambiguity

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The reality is gender dysmorphia research is too young to allow it to be treated with anything other than utmost care. With the potential for lasting physical and psychological damage to patients, it has to be strictly regulated for patient safety.

The post Investigation Reveals Availability of Unregulated £11 Gender-Blocking Hormones to Minors first appeared on Swift Feed.

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