One of the worst issues that plague the availability of quality healthcare is counterfeit medication. According to estimates, around 30% of medicines in circulation in Pakistan are fake or substandard. This issue continues to worsen with every passing day, making it extremely important for customers and patients to learn about it. Bad medicine is not just a bad investment; it is hazardous to your health.
We can only avoid deception by virtue of our knowledge. This article seeks to provide you with the relevant expertise to increase your chances of spotting counterfeit medication in the market.
Many pharmacies legally operate using the internet as a medium for their products. This business model is based on the principles of e-commerce. Competent online pharmacies, like emeds.pk, which is ISO 9001:2015 Certified, ensure a client’s accessibility, confidentiality, and solitude.
Unfortunately, like every other tool, this method is also vulnerable to nefarious dealings. Humans are very sturdy. Evolutionary history shows we can survive what most other species cannot. But even we can fall victim to fake ingestible medical products from an untrustworthy source.
How to identify fake medicines in Pakistan
Fake medicines in Pakistan is a big problem. Pharmaceutical companies typically earn high profits, making this field attractive for exploitation. This is what you must do not to get caught in the deception;
1. Do Not Purchase Prescription Drugs Without Prescription
A website that sells prescription medication without even asking for a prescription is breaking the law. If the vendor does not care about breaking the law, they most likely do not care about keeping authentic medication.
Remember, an authentic vendor will always insist on a prescription for prescription drugs. Otherwise, they may be penalised by the law. Be wary of the sites that are too eager to make the sale without going through the proper procedure. They are most likely fake and illegal.
2. There Ain’t No Such Thing as Free Medicine
Sometimes, you may come across a company that sells medicine with exceedingly significant discounts. Others would offer you some products for free upon making a secondary purchase. Here applies the adage, ‘if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’
Make sure to independently confirm the authenticity of the vendor and medication before making such a purchase. If nothing else, ask your doctor for guidance.
3. Verify the Vendor’s License Number Before Making a Purchase
A website with proper verification to operate an online pharmacy advertises this fact. They display the license number and certification prominently. Before making your purchase, make sure to search for the license number. Authentic online pharmacies require registration with Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP). If you cannot find the registration information, ask the vendor about it in an email. As a paying customer, it is your right to verify a company’s authenticity.
4. Analyse the Packaging of Your Medicine
Suppose your suspicions rouse after making the purchase. In that case, you can check the packaging of your medicine for any defects.
Counterfeit medicine usually has poor packaging, printing, and information. Some fake packages have an absence of expiry date, while others have a blurry batch number, making it difficult to read. The unusual font size, spelling errors, and unusual print colours clearly indicate fake products. Some packages display colours that are brighter or paler than usual products. In many cases, the quality of the packaging is also inferior. It gets smudged or distorted with minimal external pressure.
Compare your product with the one you already have.
5. Do Not Consume Medicine With Broken Seal
Bottled medicines often have a security seal that must not be damaged. This seal keeps the medicine fresh and secure. You must not take a medicine with a broken seal. It may prove hazardous to your health.
6. Analyse the Physical Appearance of the Drug
Some medications have a distinct shape, colour, size, consistency, uniformity and weight for the tablets or capsules. The registered and established brands produce their drugs with consistency. Any deviation from the regular appearance of the medicine means trouble. Refrain from consuming such products without ensuring their authenticity.
According to WHO, you must look for the following attributes in a tablet to confirm it is fake;
- Small broken pieces of tablets or powder deposit at the bottom of the container
- Cracked tablets
- Crystallisation on the tablets or container walls
- Unusual hardening or softening of the medicine
- The appearance of spots, discolouration, or swelling of the tablets
7. Be Wary of Unexpected Side Effects
Every pharmaceutical product has some mild side effects. Typically, these side effects are documented because of extensive testing and trials. Your doctor prescribes you the medicine after ensuring there will be no unusual results. If you notice an unusual side effect from the medicine, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. Authentic drugs do not produce unexpected effects without some excellent reasons.
8. Verify the Manufacturer’s Address
Tracking well-known brands is easy. But the problem is, there are too many brands in the market, and not all of them recognisable. There is a trick to identify if your drug’s brand is authentic or not without opening the container.
Sometimes fake manufacturers cannot print their exact address on the medicine label. Most likely, they do this to avoid being caught. Make sure there is an address mentioned. If yes, then you can check if the address is traceable. If the only recognisable address is the country of origin’s name, do not consume such medication.
Good health is the most precious thing in the world. Medicines are meant to heal you, not damage you. You must avoid counterfeit medicines to get better. Heed these points and always make sure you get genuine medicines.