Drug counterfeiting has become a menace in the Pharmaceutical Industry. It has become an easy means for fraudsters to make money and there seems to be no end to their menace.
But, What is Drug Counterfeiting?
Drug Counterfeiting is forged drug which consists of either a wrong or no active ingredient. The drug may sometimes even have a correct active ingredient but taken in wrong dose. They’re very illegal according to the law of the land and most importantly dangerous to the health.
Reach of Drug Counterfeiting in the Market:
The shocking aspect of this menace is that it is happening in both first and third world countries. It has come into limelight only after a majority of death cases happening on a regular basis.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, it is prevalent in less than 1% in developed and very much higher in the developing countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that while the incidence of counterfeit drugs is less than 1% in developed countries and much higher percentage in some developing countries.
It is on raise because of some major causes which cannot be neglected. Like:
*Low Patient Awareness
*Implementation of Regulations
*Limited Inspections and quality control
*Low Patient Awareness: More the patient is aware of the brands, more he is likely to purchase recognized brands.
*Implementation of Regulations: Since the year 2014, Legal amendments 2014 have increased the penalties and duration of imprisonment for individuals who imports, manufactures or sells any adulterated or spurious drugs. However in majority of cases guilt proving and ensuring traceability has not been easy. Due to reduced enforcement, regulations do not have the desired deterrence impact.
*Limited Inspections and quality control: As there are less of drug inspectors, there are limited numbers of inspections taking place and even quality control check-ups.
Because of all this, it showcases major consequences on the society.
Economic Loss to the Nation: Counterfeiting has brought a huge economic lose for the nation and is increasing to a great extent annually. Many companies have got into loss and some have even got collapsed because of not being able have their share of profits.
Therapeutic Failure: Therapeutic failure may also be linked with the usage of fake drugs containing inadequate or no active ingredient, leading to loss of confidence among the patients on the conventional drugs and public health program.
Being Educated it’s our duty to identify the signs and understand whether a particular drug is forged or not.
Signs for Identification of Forged Drugs:
Form: After seeing, the spectator can easily identify whether a particular drug is real or not. The indicators can be peculiar colour, shape, and smell either while consuming it or when not in use.
Packaging: It’s highly recommended that if the packaging of the drug looks suspicious, tampered, has typos along with weird font sizes not to purchase.
It is always better to have a look at the batch number and the code printed on the foil of the blister pack. The codes should be similar to the batch number and that printed outside of the packet containing the blister pack.
Price: If the price of the drug and its demands are completely contradictory, it should be best avoided at all costs. Drug patents usually keep the prices high and lower prices indicate that the seller has forged drugs and not authorized generic copies.
So, it’s always better to safe than sorry.
Verification: Few drugs have certain guidelines or only available when authentic prescription is shown. Thus, if any drug is easily available without any prescription (when it is physician prescribed) it is very necessary that it be taken as indication and inform to the drug inspectors.
Now-a-days, there are SMS verification done against drug counterfeiting.
“We already have a barcode system to check the authenticity of medicines that are exported. Through this system we can keep at bay all types of spurious and fake medicines,” according to Drug Controller General of India G.N. Singh
Side-Effects: This is one of the biggest indicators of counterfeiting drugs. It is necessary if one experiences any kind of unusual side-effects, stop using straight away and consult the doctor or pharmacist.
It is highly advised not to use drugs which have been banned as well.
There are even ways through fake drugs can be identified online. Some of them include:
Pharmaceutical Company: It is vital that the user check the website of the pharmaceutical company which manufactures the drug. It’s also good through the news section in their website for cues.
Licensed Pharmacist: Cross verify that the pharmacy from online has a licensed pharmacist. Mind you, that the pharmacist should be based in the same country as the user.
Health Websites: Check for websites of the country’s federal, national, or other relevant health department website for similar updates.
Usually health department websites publish news related to the drugs and in this case it is regarding counterfeiting.
So, it’s necessary that we the responsible citizens need to combat drug counterfeiting and act as responsible citizens of the world.