According to a 2017 research from the World Health Organization, 1 in 10 medical products in developing countries like the Philippines is either substandard or falsified. This is indeed a huge problem, as the people who are taking these medicines aren’t actually treating or preventing their diseases. Rather, they might make their conditions worse or even experience unpleasant side effects.
Usually, fake medicines have no active ingredients, have less potent or undeclared components, and/or have illegal or dangerous substances in them. Sometimes, they may contain the correct ingredients but don’t have the correct dosage. In addition, fake or counterfeit medicines are usually contaminated because they are produced in unhygienic and substandard facilities.
In short, you should not purchase fake or counterfeit medicines. The question is, how do you avoid them? Here are some tips to make sure that you’re buying only authentic medicines, food supplements, and other medical products:
Buy From Trusted Sources
The first and most important thing to do to make sure that the medical products you’re buying are 100% “legit” is to buy them from trusted sources. There are plenty of reputable drugstores and pharmacies in the country, so it’s best to purchase your medicines and supplements from these establishments to ensure your health and safety. The same goes for online shopping. When you buy medicine online Philippines’s drugstores and pharmacies have their e-commerce platforms—make sure to buy from them.
Remember: these companies have their reputation to protect. Thus, they have plenty of security and quality measures to ensure that they’re providing only the best products for their customers.
Look at the Price
One of the biggest signs that a medical product may be fake or counterfeit is its price. A bit of change is normal, especially if there’s a special promotion going on. Some brands may also be cheaper than others, particularly when you’re comparing them with generic counterparts.
However, if the cost is much lower than the suggested retail price or SRP, beware. It doesn’t automatically mean that the medicine is fake, but there’s a big chance that it is. What you have to remember is that even if the medicines have different brands, the process of making them remains the same. This means that the costs are relatively the same as well. If there are drastic price differences, be on the alert!
Check the Packaging
Once you have the medicine in your possession, check the security seals. If you bought bottled medicines and vitamins, the cap should be unopened and its seal should not be damaged in any way. You should also check the plastic seal is not broken.
For capsules and tablets in foil or blister packs, inspect the packaging and make sure that it doesn’t have any punctures and tears. If you notice anything amiss, bring the products back where you bought them; you can either ask for replacements or buy from other sources.
Compare With the Original
An easy way to spot fake or counterfeit medicine is to compare it with the original. Start with the packaging and see if there are any differences. Usually, you’ll notice different shades on the brand’s colors or even misspellings of names and ingredients. Sometimes, the font used for the text will also have slight variations.
Other details to check include the batch number and expiry date. Verify the manufacturer’s address as well, and make sure that it’s complete. Most of the time, fake medicines don’t indicate the complete address and just use a country name.
Look at the Medicine Itself
Finally, you can take a look at the medicine itself to see if it’s authentic. This is particularly applicable for products that come in clear bottles or in blister packs with clear plastic tops. Take note of the physical appearance of the product. For tablets, check if there are traces of powder in the packaging. The product should also be intact, and not cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged.
For capsules, check if the shell is in good shape. It shouldn’t be deformed, wrinkled, or swollen. There also shouldn’t be any liquid or powder outside the shell.
The color of the medicine itself should also be consistent. Many fake or counterfeit medicines are either lighter or darker in color than the original. If you can make comparisons with authentic medicine, this part will be easier.
For medicines in clear bottles, on the other hand, check if the tablets or capsules are stuck together. This can be a sign of improper manufacturing, packaging, or contamination. Return or dispose of the product immediately and buy from another source.
Remember: medicines, vitamins, and supplements are formulated to treat your conditions and make you healthier. Thus, you have to be sure that what you’re getting is the real thing. Be careful and vigilant when purchasing medical products; if you’ve already bought them, it pays to conduct more inspections to guarantee quality. It’s all for your good health and safety, so every effort is worthwhile!