A staple childhood memory is hearing the speech about how important it is to eat your ‘5 a day’ to get enough vitamins. Memories of the cold winter mornings approaching and your parents taking out the vitamin tablets to beat those winter colds. After this had been drilled into us as children it is no wonder that when the innovation of “IV drip stations” to administer vitamins came onto the scene people’s curiosity was piqued.

Many people will have seen them used on celebrity Instagram stories, or maybe are familiar with the ‘banana bag’ IV drip used to sober up one too many doctors on Grey’s Anatomy, but may not be too familiar with the controversy surrounding them. The premise is that you pay for an IV drip to be inserted into your arm. Then through the IV the vitamins that you have chosen flow directly into your bloodstream. Each mixture states to enhance a different aspect of your health. It takes around 20-40 minutes depending on which treatment is chosen. This then absorbs quickly to the body.

This idea is not new to Ireland. It has been used in spas around the country for many years, but what has changed is that it is now available in Brown Thomas in Dundrum Shopping Centre, making it more accessible for the average shopper. Although the premise may be quite simple, these treatments do not come cheap. The company has an extensive menu of treatments ranging from €85 for a basic hydration drip up to €950 for a limitless drip that contains a concoction of vitamins. The treatments claim to meet specific needs with names such as “Anti-Aging drip” and “Hair health drip” made of specific vitamins that target that area.

But what is the attraction of these highly-priced treatments as opposed to eating fruit and vegetables or taking supplements? This question appears to be one many people are asking judging from the reaction online when this was announced. The new venture for Brown Thomas has yielded a lot of negative feedback online with many doctors and pharmacists voicing their concerns about the safety of the treatment in terms of infection prevention and dispelling the myth that this service is more effective than or can replace supplements and diet.

The website states that they have “administered over 35,000 drips to date with no serious side effects.” and that each member of their team is a qualified nurse or doctor. While this is positive there are still the bigger questions of the price, dangers of invasive procedures and what pharmacist Lauren O’Reilly terms as “exploitation of wellness culture”.

Lauren discussed her concerns about this service on her Instagram page first stating that “Unless you are clinically unwell, in a hospital setting, there is no need to receive hydration, or vitamins for that matter, via an IV line”. Her stance on the matter remains that “in a hospital, where possible, they will move away from using a drip to reduce the risk of infection” and so why would you place that risk on yourself unnecessarily? She also mentioned the extortionate price for something that could be achieved through drinking water or taking supplements in your daily life which can be absorbed orally to equal measure.

Lauren is not alone in this stance as this new clinic has brought with it numerous conversations with many medical professionals weighing in negatively on the exploitation of health values. While celebrities continue to promote this practice online the concern is that people will be influenced by this view alone and not take any medical concerns into account. It is due to this that medical professionals like Lauren have spoken out online about the side that you do not see on celebrity Instagram accounts.

Placing the health issues to one side, the price alone would quickly empty a wallet. Having treatments such as these that people believe will improve their health at such a high price can lead to excess money being spent. If you think that you need this service, it is always worth contacting your GP or pharmacist to see if there is a cheaper and safer alternative that is as effective such as supplements to save that precious cash. Although this service might be a go- to for many celebrities, a student budget may be better suited to some supermarket vitamins and an apple!