This editorial by Dr. Warren Willey was published in Idaho State Journal on July 7, 2018. Dr. Willey is an osteopathic physician who lives and works in Pocatello, Idaho.

Beware of the Potential for Counterfeit Drugs from Other Countries

As the cost of medication continues to soar, more and more people are looking outside the United States for their medications. At least once a week, I am asked to write a prescription to send to Canada.

On a number of occasions I have had patients take the prescription we discussed, do their own research (with the help of Dr. Google), and order what they assumed to be the same medication from China or other parts of the world.

Above and beyond the fact that medication has enough potential side effects and problems in and of itself, the risk of getting counterfeit drugs is also becoming a more common and serious problem.

Counterfeit drugs generally don’t have the prescribed active ingredients and, even if they do, the amounts are far less than what was prescribed. Counterfeit drugs are also known to have different ingredients and even dangerous chemicals, and have been responsible for a number of deaths.

One case I just became familiar with, that spurred this article, was a case of counterfeit birth control pills. I’m sure you can imagine what the results of those false drugs were. Even though the cost is reprehensible, it’s best to stay in the states for your medication. Better yet, take charge of your health and do your best to avoid needing medication. No counterfeiter can pull a fast one on you if you don’t take anything.