Q] What constitutes a Counterfeit (fake) Drug?
A] The CDC defines them as drugs that are deliberately made to resemble a brand name pharmaceutical. They may contain no active ingredients or contain ingredients inconsistent with the package description. Counterfeiters tend to focus on the more expensive brands. The WHO defines them as medicines that are deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity or source: their quality is unpredictable as they may contain the wrong amount of active ingredients, wrong ingredients or no active ingredients. In all cases counterfeit medicines are manufactured in clandestine laboratories with no possibility of control. Counterfeit medicines range from random mixtures of harmful toxic substances to inactive, useless preparations.

Q] What are the main products that are fake?
A] Antimalarials,anticancer medicines, antibiotics, hormones, steroids, pain killers, blood glucose test strips, TB treatments, HIV/AIDS treatments, and even condoms. Basically any expensive drug has the possibility of having been counterfeit.

Q] How can I tell they are Counterfeit?
A] Their coloring may be off. The packaging may have misspellings. The packaging can be damaged and not look as good. If you look at the examples tab, it is very hard to tell the difference a lot of the time. To make sure you don’t have a counterfeit drug try refrain from buying them on the internet and buy them from safe pharmacies.

Q] Who do I contact if I encounter such a drug?
A] You should report the drug to the pharmacist that sold you the drug or report it to your health care provider. You can also call the Medwatch program 1.800.322.1088 and let the FDA know directly.

Q] Are there quality counterfeit drugs?
A] No, there are no good counterfeit drugs. There are too many problems that may be associated with them; drug resistance building, death, illegal, etc.

Q] Where are these medicines found?
A] Internet, developing countries, developed countries, and the list goes on. NO ONE is safe from them. This problem is worldwide!

Q] Why is this a problem? What is making people make these drugs?
A] Medicines are high valued items. Medicines are demanded all over. Lack of political will and commitment to establish strong NMRA. There is not well establish medicine regulations/legislation or lack of them. Abscence of or weak NMRA. Enforcement is not there or is very weak. There is not enough drugs to go around of the real kind. Medicines are so expensive.

Q] Are there any guidelines for a person who wants to buy drugs online?
A] Here is a link to the FDA. They have a page about buying drugs online. A consumer Safety Guide. Here is another page from a counterfeit website called Tips for Buying Drugs Safely Online.

Q] Is there a problem in the US?
A] There have been increasing incidents in the US regarding counterfeit drugs. The FDA cannot keep track of everything. In the 1990s the FDA dealt with about 5 cases a year. Now, since 2000, the FDA has dealt with about 20 cases. The drug makers are becoming more “sneaky.”

Q] How big is the problem outside of the US?
A] It is a huge problem! China is becoming a more developed country and is a production center for counterfeit drugs. In India counterfeit drugs account for about one-third of the drugs that are produced world-wide. Nigeria has recently threatened to ban all drugs from India, to help combat the problem of counterfeit drugs in their country. The growth of these cases can be attributed to organized crime groups such as; the “Russian mafia,” Chinese triads, Mexican gangs, Colombian drug cartels, and also some terrorist groups. 60% of the cases being found are in developing countries (Measuring Impact of Counterfeit Drugs).

Q] Do fake drugs really matter? What makes them so bad?
A] Usually they contain incorrect levels of the active ingredient which causes the the weaker strains of the agent to be destroyed and it also allows drug resistant strains to adapt to the active ingredient and multiply. It is not good for research.

Q] What is the difference between counterfeit and substandard drugs?
A] From what I have learned, I believe, counterfeits can be substandard, but substandard drugs are not always necessarily counterfeit. The WHO defines substandard as those that are genuine medicines produced by manufacturers authorized by the NMRA which do not meet quality specifications set for them by national standards. Counterfeits are defined, by the WHO, as medicines that are deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity or source: their quality is unpredictable as they may contain the wrong amount of active ingredients, wrong ingredients or no active ingredients


4 responses

9 11 2009

I had no idea that this was such a prevalent issue until I read this…Thanks for the information 🙂

15 05 2010

hello and thnks for the interstinginformation

28 07 2011
Travis Johnson

What is NMRA?

29 07 2011

Something Sheldon Cooper would love… National Model Railroad Association.

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