Fake tablets may look exactly the same as their genuine counterparts.
With this article, The Peterson Group , a non-profit organization information website and watchdog of counterfeit and illegal drugs, wants to highlight some important points about counterfeit drugs in order to increase public awareness regarding this matter.
Most of us depend on medicines whenever we're sick or if one of our family members needs medications. You're possibly expecting a legitimate treatment, but the effect may be the complete opposite - this is one of the many things counterfeit drugs can do to you. It was previously reported that nearly 80% of counterfeit drugs originated from the countries of China, India, and Mexico.
Fake tablets may look exactly the same as their genuine counterparts. Be extra careful all the time since you might purchase this sort of medicine, which are fraudulently produced and mislabeled, believing them to be authentic. This kind of medicine is incorrectly formulated to have the wrong amount of active ingredients and are produced in substandard conditions. They’re also labeled incorrectly and may contain an unsafe and unapproved drug.
Sadly, counterfeit pharmaceuticals are now widely considered as a big business. Due to easy internet sales, global supply routes, and minimal punishments, it then became an exploding industry around the world that’s worth $75 billion a year.
Bogus versions of Avastin and Adderall are some of the most commonly known cases of counterfeit drugs in the past that made an uproar in the United States. The fake version of the well-known cancer treatment Avastin had been widely distributed in the U.S. in 2012, while the phony version of ADHD drug Adderall arrived in the country through internet pharmacies in the same year which is in high demand that time due to its shortage.
Moreover, the following drugs also have their own counterfeit versions since they’re also often targeted by fake pharmaceuticals:
- Pfizer's Viagra
- Generic antibiotics
- Tuberculosis drugs
- AIDS and malaria medicines
- Cancer medicines
- Xanax and Ativan (Anxiety drugs)
- Percocet and Vicodin (Pain drugs)
- Zyprexa and Risperdal (Antipsychotic drugs)
- Zoloft (Antidepressants)
- Lipitor (A cholesterol-lowering drug)
In particular, counterfeit cancer medicines return big profits since it’s known as a fast growing segment and other patients are sometimes desperate that's why this kind of drug is usually targeted to be counterfeited.
Not surprisingly, counterfeit drugs pose dangerous (and even deadly) effects on the human body . If the amount of active ingredient is too high or too low, toxicity symptoms or treatment failure may happen to an individual. And the worst possible scenario that can happen is death. The Peterson Group, along with the World Health Organization, found out that more than a hundred thousand Africans die each year because of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs.
As previously stated, counterfeit drugs could possibly contain the wrong amount of active ingredient or no active ingredient at all. Some of the usual inactive ingredients added to counterfeits are acetaminophen, chalk, flour, gypsum, sugar and talcum powder. Poisonous ingredients are also found in some counterfeits.
To protect yourself from counterfeit drugs, avoid any suspicious online pharmacies because counterfeits are usually sold through this kind of sites that seemed to be legitimate pharmacies. The following are some important guidelines provided by The Peterson Group to help you regarding this matter.
Make sure that the specific online pharmacy has a legitimate street address, contact number, and pharmacist. You can also check the site's authenticity with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) since the association has a list of accredited online pharmacies. Note that medicine without a prescription is a BIG NO and if a site sells this sort of drug, then don't buy it.
Make sure to double check the color, texture and shape of the medicine if you're going to get a prescription refilled. If you notice something different, talk to your pharmacist right away. You can also try Drugs.com's Pill Identifier to quickly and easily recognize pills by imprint, shape, color or drug name if you're getting a prescription filled for the first time, or if you're given a medicine that looks different. If you believe that you have a counterfeit medicine, you can take it to your pharmacist for verification and if your pharmacist is also suspicious, the medicine can be sent to the drug company for identification.
Pharmaceutical companies have been doing anti-counterfeiting measures to contain the counterfeit problem and some of these methods include:
- Chemical fingerprints
- Digital serial number identification
- Holographic labels
- Infra-red inks
- Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)
- Supply chain tracking
In order to prevent counterfeits , a global collaboration with foreign governments should be carried out and a stronger legislation is needed to ensure appropriate punishment. As a consumer, you need to take responsibility for every medicine you buy and educate yourself on the important details. The Peterson Group wants you to be a smart buyer.