FDA Says Buy from US State-Licensed Pharmacies to Avoid Counterfeit Meds

The US Food and Drug Administration is advising American consumers in a new campaign to avoid counterfeit medications by purchasing only from US state-licensed pharmacies.

FDA campaign

The US Food and Drug Administration is advising American consumers in a new campaign to avoid counterfeit medications by purchasing only from US state-licensed pharmacies.

Says the FDA, “Counterfeit medicines are fake or copy cat medicines.  They may: 
be contaminated, contain the wrong active ingredients (the formula that makes the medicine work), be made with the wrong amount of ingredients, contain no active ingredients at all, or be packaged in phony packaging.”

The campaign goes on to advise purchasing only from state-licensed pharmacies that are located in the United States, “where FDA and state authorities can assure the quality of drug manufacturing, packaging, distribution and labeling.  This way you know your medicine is coming from a reputable source….”

They also recommend verifying that any online medicine purchases are bought from pharmacies located in the US and licensed, and in good standing, with the state licensing agency which is available from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).  Verified online pharmacies will have the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites Accreditation Program (VIPPS) seal from the NABP.  

The FDA recommends that consumers learn to analyze medication, in order to avoid counterfeits. Every time a patient gets a prescription refilled, he or she should check the color, texture, taste and shape of the medicine, and talk to the pharmacist about any differences.

In May 2012, the FDA warned consumers and health care professionals about a counterfeit version of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ Adderall 30 mg tablets available on the internet.  The real medication used to control attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and narcolepsy contains four active ingredients, dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate, however the counterfeit version contained none of these ingredients.  Instead the medication contained tramadol and acetaminophen, pain medications.

Download the FDA Counterfeit Medicines poster here.

By S. Imber