According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all drugs sold are fake. Fake drugs can lead to many problems. They may not contain any actual medicines. Taking them will not lead to improvement and patients may even get worse or die. Some may be adulterated with harmful ingredients. Knowing whether your medications are authentic is very important. Although, the most reliable way to identify a fake drug is to take a sample and analyse in the laboratory, there are techniques that can help improve your chance of buy genuine drugs.
Look and Feel
It is important to inspect the packaging of drugs carefully. Sometimes the packaging is a poor copy of the genuine drug. Errors in spelling and other misprints may suggests a fake product. Is the seal broken? Drugs packaged in bottles may have a seal on them. If the seal is broken when purchased please discard or don’t accept.
Check batch number and expiry date
It is also advisable to feel the drug’s consistency. Sometimes poor copy may crumbly and break apart easily
Know Your Medicine
Know what your medication looks like. If it is a drug you take regularly familiarise yourself with how it looks. If you are not familiar with the drug you are getting it may be worthwhile to use online pill checkers that show images of the tablet to give you idea of what to expect. Some examples of online pill checkers include:Drugs.com , Webmd.com & Rxlist.com
Some drug packages have panels that you can scratch to reveal a PIN number. You can send text message to a toll-free number and receive a message stating if drug is genuine or fake. This is known as Mobile Authentication Service using Short Message Service (SMS)
Use Reputable Pharmacies
Well known and reliable pharmacies are the best sources of genuine drug. It is better to purchase medications from reliable and well-known pharmacies. They usually employ licensed pharmacists when that can fill your prescription medication. It is not advisable to accept drugs that are not in original package unless prescription is filled by a licensed pharmacist.
Beware of cheap drugs. If the drug is much cheaper than known reliable sources, it may be a scam
Unexpected Side Effects
If you get unusual side effects from a drug you have taken before it is advisable to stop the medication and verify it. If your condition is worsening despite adequate doses of the drug it may be fake.