Counterfeit drugs have become more common with the boom in online pharmacy business. Though not all pharmacies sell counterfeit drugs, there are a few that do it for gaining more money.
What are counterfeit drugs? Counterfeit drugs are drugs that are fake. They are drugs that are produced with wrong or harmful ingredients. Such drugs are either impotent or over-potent causing serious side effects in the patient. Consumption of counterfeit drugs can lead to chronic conditions if the patient is taking them as prescription medications. But counterfeit drugs are packaged and designed in the same way as original, branded or generic drugs. Counterfeit drug manufacturers make the drugs look exactly identical to original drugs to deceive the user into thinking that he is buying the right drug.
How to identify counterfeit drugs: Generally, counterfeit drugs can are identical to original drugs and can be found out only if they are tested in laboratories. However, there are some signs to find out a fake drug from a good one. Below is the counterfeit drug identification checklist suggested by National Association of Board of Pharmacies (NABP):
1. Look at the package: Take a good look at the package of the drug. Does it look like something has been compromised? Does it have wrongly-typed out letters? Is the text there badly printed? Compare the package to an expired or old drug’s package.
2. Labeling of the drug: Take a closer look at the drug. Is the label on it crooked? Is it different from the label the drug had on the online pharmacy site? Then chances are, it may be fake.
3. Shape of the pill or pill bottle: Check the shape of the pill bottle or the pill. Is the shape different from what you are used to? If yes, check with a pharmacist on whether the drug company has changed the shape or if they have introduced a variant. If not, suspect it and dig deep.
4. Check the color: Similarly, check the color of the pill. If it has changed, you need to inquire the pharmacist on whether the company has changed it. If not, check the website of the company or website of another online pharmacy.
Other signs of counterfeit drugs: Other than the above mentioned signs, counterfeit drugs can be identified by gaging the nature of the medication too. Counterfeit drugs have:
1.A strange smell or taste or color
2.They can be easily chipped
3.They come in extremely lower prices, lower than what is the market rate for that drug
4.They are packaged and labeled in a sloppy, unprofessional way
What to do when you suspect you have received counterfeit drugs? Show the drugs to a local pharmacist or your family doctor or a medical professional. They would able to identify fake drugs from real ones. Once you are sure that you have a counterfeit drug, contact the online pharmacy from which you ordered the drug. If the pharmacy does not respond, write to the pharmaceutical manufacturer of the original drug. If nothing works out, report to the NABP or FDA. You can contact the NABP through the following means:
1.Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
2.Report online via this web page http://www.nabp.net/vipps/consumer/report.asp
3.Contact via phone – 1-800-332-1088