Consumers can protect themselves from fake drugs by following some simple steps to insure their prescriptions come from reliable pharmacies including verifying their pharmacy's legitmacy, submitting a doctor's prescription and being aware of practices that may signify frauds.
According to AOL Money & Finance's Daily Finance report, consumers need to educate themselves about the characteristics of fake drugs, including their similarity to authentic prescription medication. Counterfeits can be blank pills that fail to treat a condition, can have inaccurate doses of active ingredients, or have additional unprescribed ingredients or banned substances. Not only will these cause failure in treatment, they might also be dangerous and lethal.
Fred Felman, chief marketing officer of Mark Monitor, an online brand protection company that has investigated online counterfeit pharmaceuticals, says that even counterfeits that appear to be chemically identical can still be dangerous if they have been prepared in unsanitary conditions, mishandled or mistored, shipped improperly or expired, reports Daily Finance.
In recent years, the FDA says that there has been growing evidence of drug counterfeiting around the world backed by organized crime syndicates using the internet for propagation.
Daily Finance reported that the world's largest drugmaker, Pfizer, has documented counterfeit versions of 40 products in 92 countries, including 21 fake medications within the legitmate supply chain of 46 countries, including the U.S.
According to the World Health Organization, Internet pharmacies that hide their physical address from the public will deliver counterfeits more than 50% of the time.
Daily Finance suggest the follow practices to verify the legitmacy of medications when purchasing drugs online:
1) Start with a trusted source verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacies.
2) Use one that demands a prescription, provides a physical address and contact information for a pharmacist.
Daily Finance also suggests being alert to enticement practices:
1) Advertisements that offer "doctor consultation" or don't require a prescription.
2) Sites that sell by the pill, which is illegal in the U.S.
3) Sites that offer bonus pills with an order.
4) Sites that provide no physical address.
4) Sites that are found on the VIPPS not recommended list.
5) Sites that offer non-FDA approved drugs.
Enticement offers are very good signs that something may not be legitmate with consumers' choice of Internet pharmacy and they should be alert to possible fraud or fake drugs.