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Ethical Health –
Pain Remedies

t’s pretty difficult to avoid the pharmaceutical giants when buying painkillers, but ethical pain remedy alternatives are out there. One option is to choose generic analgesics rather than the attractively packaged brand names, which often contain the same active ingredient at a much higher price. Many of the companies are still involved in animal testing, although the number has decreased on previous years; proof that a combination of public pressure and positive legislation can really make a difference.

Brands and generics

The painkiller market is estimated to be worth over £500 million, up from about £300 million a decade ago. There are three main types of painkilling drug, based upon the active ingredients paracetamol (acetaminophen in the US), aspirin and ibuprofen, all of which are available over the counter. Aspirin and ibuprofen have an antiinflammatory effect, as well as acting on the pain and fever reduced by paracetamol.

Like nearly every other ‘consumer product’, there is an abundance of different pain remedy brands available, with a choice of between 30 and 50 different analgesics in the shops. Formulations may contain either aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen or a combination of these, and may also include codeine and other ingredients, such as caffeine.


Other‍‍‍ issues

Most of‍‍‍ the companies included in the research were known to be involved in animal testing. Although companies are obliged in most countries to test pharmaceutical products on animals, some are involved in testing that is not for medical use. Companies producing generics may be less likely to be involved in animal testing as they simply produce drugs that were developed by others. Concerns have been raised over a class of painkilling drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories after a trial linked them, when taken at prolonged high doses, to an increased risk of heart attack. One drug, Vioxx, has been taken off the market, and the study’s authors have called for further research to be carried out.

Recently, over-reliance on painkillers has been revealed as a cause of some persistent headaches. Discovery of the ‘medication ov‍‍‍eruse headache’ has led to drugs companies being criticised for marketing their brands as quick fixes, when milder pain might be better left alone.‍‍‍‍‍‍

Burma (Myanmar)

The percentage of waste paper pulp in tampons and towels has sadly decreased recently as manufacturers play to the fact that around half of women declare themselves prepared to pay more if they sense a higher quality and comfort level – hence the extra wings, gels and gauzy layers that keep appearing.

Ethical ‍‍‍alternatives

Dealing with stress is usually preferable to having to deal with the symptoms such as pain. Reg‍‍‍ular exercise and relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and massage can be good stress-busters. There is also a range of alternative natural remedies for people who prefer not to use conventional medications such as aromatherapy, homeopathy and herbal remedies. One company offering alternative remedies is Natural Hero which has launched a range of products based on premium botanical formulations to aid sports recovery.

It has been suggested that migraines may be triggered by certain foods and drink. The most common triggers are thought to be red wine, chocolate, cheese and citrus fruit. Avoiding these may limit the chance of an attack.

Key Research

Below you will find links to the key sections of our ethical research in Fashion:

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We have created ethical comparison rankings for the following brands, based on the activities of the company group (see above tables): Natracare, Mooncup, Yes, The Diva Cup, Draper’s Organic, Naty, Organyc, Gift, Lunapads, Cottons, Lil-Lets, Bodyform, Kotex, Always, Tampax, Carefree

Disclosure:  Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning we earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. Placement and use of these links has no bearing in terms of the ethical scores that we give to a brand.  All commission earned by The Good Shopping Guide is re-invested into the research carried out by The Ethical Company Organisation.

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