Animal products in meds consumed by vegetarians

While not an active part of the medicine, gelatin is commonly found as an excipient used to bind, fill, thicken, lubricate, sweeten or coat drugs. It is most commonly found in capsule shells. 

The questionnaire-based study of 500 urological patients in culturally diverse Manchester, UK, found 200 had strictures concerning the consumption of animal products.

Eighty-eight per cent of vegetarian patients said they would prefer to take medicines containing only vegetable products, while 10% said it did not matter to them.

While 57% said they would take a drug containing an animal product if no alternative was available, 43% said they would not knowingly take drugs containing animal products. 

Most patients were unaware of what their medicines contained yet only one in five would have asked about it. 

While the issue of gelatin in medicines is not new, the study unveiled the scale of the problem for concerned consumers