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Fake Medicines on the rise- The reality of the fake drug industry in India

Posted by:admin onAugust 7, 2014

Did you ever imagine that the medicines we all turn to when we are sick as a source of comfort and relief could be fake? Or that they could be lethal? Neither of us did, but the cold reality is that there exists a large worldwide network that manufactures and sells drugs that are illicitly produced. These cartels thrive on the desperation and frustration caused by illness and feed on the willingness of people to pay as much as it would take in order to get better. According to experts, globally the counterfeit drug industry is worth a mind boggling 90 billion dollars approximately and is responsible for killing approximately 1 million people annually. Apart from its lethal effects, these drugs also cause people to become resistant to other forms of medication. Estimates by the Indian Government and trademark infringement investigations put the number of counterfeit drugs in India at 0.4 percent while it says sub- standard drugs are at 8 percent approximately. However independent studies put the number much higher at around 12-25 percent. As per Indian officials the financial loss caused by the counterfeit medicine industry is around 8.5 billion dollars every year.

These counterfeit medicines contain small amounts of the real drug mixed with additives such as milk powder, glucose, baby formula etc. The Damage caused by counterfeit drugs is usually long term as immediate effects after consumption are not noticed but since drug does not do anything to cure the illness or ailment; it gets prolonged and may reach an advanced stage where real medicines may be ineffective and may lead to the death of the person. Other associated health risks depend on the nature of the filler used. In cases where chalk is used as filler it leads to sedimentation and calcification of the internal organs causing bleeding and hemorrhage. If the filler used is harmful in its natural form then the effects when mixed with actual drugs can be potentially lethal. The most shocking aspect of the counterfeit medicine industry is its inhumanity and a sole aim of pecuniary gain seen in cases where even baby formula was not spared. This counterfeit baby formula when consumed by infants can cause therapeutic failure and resistance to medication which may cause serious health effects during the course of the child’s life.

There are various methods to spot and report fake products, in this case fake medicines.

  • These medicines are usually cheaply packed and the text on the packaging is poorly printed.
  • These medicines will be unusually cheaper than the real thing.
  • The color tones used on syrup bottles will vary by one or two shades higher or lower.
  • Counterfeit tablets may be chalky, irregularly shaped and may leave a white residue when rubbed against the palm.
  • Always check for holograms with a field of depth. Any hologram that seems flat and not deep is a sure sign of a fake.

Protect yourself from counterfeit medicines by –

  • purchasing medicines from government approved pharmacies only
  • Always ask for a bill or some proof of purchase
  • Do not buy medicines offered at discounts or unusually cheap rates. They could be counterfeit
  • Always note down the batch number of medicines you consume

In case you do come across a fake pharmaceutical product be sure to report the fake product to a Brand Protection Service. One of the most popular such services is Brands and fakes.

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