A counterfeit medication or a fake drug is a medication or pharmaceutical product which is produced and sold with the intent to deceptively represent its origin, authenticity or effectiveness. This may range from containing inadequate amounts of the active ingredient or no active ingredient to containing outright harmful or toxic ingredients.
Fake drugs can kill either directly through their harmful ingredients or indirectly by giving a false assurance that a life threatening illness is being treated when it’s not.
Drug counterfeiting is a global phenomenon and the multinational syndicates are akin to hard drug cartels. It is a multi billion dollar industry. Worldwide drug counterfeiting generated an estimated $75 billion in
2010, according to the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.
Commonly counterfeited drugs in Nigeria are antimalarials, pain killers and antibiotics. A 2008 World Health Organisation study put the incidence of fake anti-malarials in sub-Saharan Africa at 64 percent. This greatly undermines the roll back malaria programme .
The aim of this article is to give tips that help to to identify and avoid potential fake drugs. It is not always easy to tell fake drugs from genuine ones, however the following tips should help.
Source: buy only from registered pharmacies. Never from the road side, motor parks or public transport.
Price: if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Packaging: if the packaging appears suspicious or looks tempered with, has unusual fonts, spelling errors, do not buy.
If the batch number on the carton is different from that on the foil of the blister pack, do not buy.
If there is no NAFDAC number printed boldly on the pack or if it appears to be tampered with, do not buy.
Pill itself: if it has an unusual colour, shape or smell different from that which you are used to if you have been taking the drug before, do not use.
Verification: for drugs that have sms verification codes, if you don’t receive a response confirming genuineness, do not use.
Side effects: if you experience any unusual side effects, stop using immediately and consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Drugs are poisons, moreso fake drugs and great care must be taken to avoid fake ones.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.