The Top 9 Men’s Health Risks Counterfeiters Exploit

The internet provides thousands of clickable links to solutions and treatments for the most common men’s health concerns, but how many of them are providing authentic, safe medication?

Learn more about common men’s health issues and how counterfeiters prey on them.

The Top 9 Men's Health Risks Counterfeiters Exploit

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The internet provides thousands of clickable links to solutions and treatments for the most common men’s health concerns, but how many of them are providing authentic, safe medication? Before you buy medication online for any of these common men’s health issues, do some research, get a prescription from your doctor and only buy from a VIPPS approved online pharmacy.

HYPERTENSION is one of the chronic conditions, along with obesity and high cholesterol that results in heart disease, the #1 threat to men’s health.

1:3 US Adults have high blood pressure, 1:3 US adults have prehypertension, therefore 2:3 US adults are at risk for hypertension.1

Because 2 out of 3 Americans either has or is at risk for high blood pressure, hypertension meds are one of the most common counterfeited medications, found in cases around the world. But meds without proper ingredients won’t lower your blood pressure, or those that contain too much may lower it dangerously. But not only are meds faked, they’re also stolen, and sold online, with who knows what kind of storage.2,3 A medication degraded from bad storage won’t do its job either, and your money and your health go down the drain.

CANCER In 2012 FDA warned 89 clinics in 15 US states that they purchased meds from a company that sells known counterfeit cancer drugs.

Lung, skin, prostate and colorectal cancers are the top killers of men. Fake cancer drugs have been found in 3 separate incidents in the US in the past 2 years. 89 cancer clinics were warned about purchasing fake cancer drugs by the FDA in 2012 alone. In all cases, the distributors were not authorized drug distributors, but the doctors’ offices bought them anyway. The chemotherapy medication used in-patient for colon, lung and other cancers contained only salt, water, starch and acetone, and no life-saving ingredients.4

OBESITY can cause hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

In 2000, 1:4 men were obese, and in 2012, 1:3 men are obese.3

Fake obesity drugs are extremely common online, both prescription and over-the-counter versions.6 Most horrifying, the counterfeiters that have been caught used sibutramine and fenfluramine, dangerous stimulants, instead of the real ingredients, which caused high blood pressure, stroke, valvular heart disease and heart attack in unwitting victims.7, 8 Criminals imported fake pills, with perfect shape and packaging, from Mexico and China, selling them on websites and online auctions.9, 10

DEPRESSION affects 121 million people worldwide, and causes 850,000 deaths every year, and is the #7 cause of death for men, according to The Mayo Clinic.11,12

Treating depression without a doctor’s help is dangerous, as is purchasing anti-depressants online without a prescription. If you have signs of depression — such as feelings of sadness and loss of interest in normal activities — consult your doctor. Self-treating is risky, and counterfeit antidepressants are widespread online and have even killed someone with a toxic overdose of aluminum in 2005.

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED) is commonly a symptom of underlying disease like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and MS among others.13

ED medications are among the most universally counterfeited and sold ubiquitously online. Search engine results for “erectile dysfunction pills” give over 15 million results, but only 69 websites are VIPPS accredited and potentially only 259 could be legitimate according to the NABP.14 Counterfeiters lace fake ED meds with dangerous substitute ingredients not approved for use like homosildenafil, hongdenafil, and heavy metals.15

TYPE 2 DIABETES is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and is the 7th leading cause of death in the US.16

Diabetics spend up to 2x as much on health care as non-diabetics. Counterfeiters and thieves exploit them by selling fake or expired insulin, test strips and insulin pens. Expired and counterfeit test strips will give false readings, causing poor treatment.17 Stolen insulin is often handled poorly and will be ineffective, because insulin is temperature sensitive.18 In 2009, 2 million counterfeit pens traveled from Iran, to Malaysia, and into the Netherlands, Poland and UK before discovery, causing unknown quantities of diabetics to suffer treatment failure.19

HIGH CHOLESTEROL is one of the leading factors in heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #5 health risks for men.12

Because one in every six adults has high cholesterol, cholesterol lowering medications are popular for counterfeiters selling medications online.21 The FDA has advised consumers not purchase medications from a series of websites that sell cholesterol medication.22 It’s always safer to purchase from VIPPS approved online pharmacies.

CHRONIC RESPIRATORY DISEASE Worldwide, vaccines have been subject to counterfeiting, including the inoculation 60,000 people in Niger with fake meningitis vaccines, and 1,400 people in Texas injected with fake flu vaccine.

In 2011 the FDA alerted consumers to fake antibiotics distributed in Colorado, Delaware, Texas, Florida, California and Georgia.23

Chronic lower respiratory diseases are among the top health risks for men, according to The Mayo Clinic. Smoking, pollution and viral respiratory infections are all culprits that can be avoided. However, counterfeit antibiotic and flu vaccines can be purchased in fake online pharmacies.24 Poor treatment of these curable conditions can turn them into chronic life-threatening conditions like bronchitis and emphysema.

HAIR LOSS Americans are 4x more likely than Canadians and Western Europeans to purchase drugs like hair loss meds online.

Hair loss websites advertise “no prescription” for prescription hair growth medications, as well as mesotherapy, or scalp injections that contain unapproved ingredients. While real medications may help, widespread counterfeit drugs won’t, and mesotherapy, scientifically unproven, can cause abscesses and additional alopecia. In 2010, The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confiscated more than $1.6 million of fake meds, including fake hair loss drugs, in what Danny Lee-Frost, head of operations called an “Aladdin’s café of fake medicine.”26

DON’T GET VICTIMIZED BY CRIMINALS OR DANGEROUS COUNTERFEIT DRUGS. Always choose a VIPPS-certified online pharmacy. You can find a list of pharmacies certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at No other certifying entity is as good as VIPPS.