Counterfeit Prescription Drugs Explained


What are Counterfeit Prescription Drugs?

Counterfeit prescription drugs, or counterfeit medication, are essentially fake drugs that were not produced by legitimate pharmaceutical companies. They are sold with the intention to deceive the buyer into thinking it’s legitimate medication.

Counterfeit prescription drugs may contain incorrect quantities of active ingredients, may be poorly processed by the body, may contain unlabelled ingredients that could be harmful to the body, as well as have fake packaging and/or labelling. Because they are unregulated and regular people will have no way of checking what’s actually inside the medication, it is very dangerous to consume counterfeit prescription drugs, even if they are supplied by a seemingly trustworthy party.

Counterfeit medication is a big problem particularly in countries that have expensive healthcare, as medication purchased from unofficial sources is much cheaper than buying legitimate prescriptions. People living in a country illegally, those without health insurance, those who fall for bad health advice on the Internet, and such are the prime consumers of counterfeit prescription drugs in the US.

Counterfeit prescription drug scams have been on a rise since the COVID-19 pandemic, with thousands of people buying medication that does not work or could even be dangerous to one’s health. Comment sections below news articles, videos, blog posts, fake news websites, etc., all advertise fake COVID-19 drugs as some kind of miracle cure against the disease. Best case scenario, people simply lose money, worst case – they do serious harm to their health.

Misinformation on the Internet, particularly during the global coronavirus pandemic, has a massive influence on counterfeit prescription drug sales. When a person of high status or one that has influence and a wide audience falsely informs the public that a particular drug is effective against COVID-19, people start looking for ways to obtain that medication. And they often turn to illegal ways to get it, which can result in them buying fake, potentially harmful medication.

How to avoid counterfeit prescription drugs

  • When buying prescription medication, carefully inspect the packaging.

When buying prescribed medication, always carefully inspect the packaging. If there are changes to the packaging or the contents of the usual prescribed medication you take, consult your pharmacist and ask about the changes.

  • If you suspect your medication to be counterfeit, consult your pharmacist.

If the medication you have purchased from a pharmacy looks suspicious and you suspect it to be counterfeit, do not be hesitant to consult your pharmacist.

  • If the medication does not have the desired effect or worsens your condition, immediately contact your doctor and pharmacist.

If you feel like the prescribed medication does not have the promised effect or none at all, contact your pharmacist and doctor. If you feel like you symptoms have worsened or there are unexpected side effects, immediately contact your doctor and inform them of the medication.

  • Be extremely cautious when buying medication on the Internet. 

Because you cannot physically check the medication packaging, it is very easy to accidentally buy counterfeit prescription drugs. If you do buy medication online, make sure the source is legitimate. Do not purchase drugs from unlicensed online distributors or those that sell prescription medication without a prescription.

  • Do not buy prescription medication that was not prescribed by a medical professional.

In COVID-19 times, there is a lot of misinformation about certain drugs that can help avoid the COVID-19 disease or lessen the symptoms. Do not buy COVID “miracle cures” or prescription drugs that supposedly help cure the disease. Unless you were prescribed certain medication by a medical professional, do not attempt to buy it in illegal ways as you might end up causing your body serious harm.

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