FAQ

Counterfeit medicines are fake or unauthorized8 medicines. They may:

  • Be contaminated
  • Contain the wrong active pharmaceutical ingredients or chemicals
  • Be made with the wrong amount of ingredients (too much or too little)
  • Contain no active ingredients at all
  • Be different in taste, consistency, appearance or have a different bodily reaction when consumed
  • Be packed in false packaging
  • Not registered with the Ministry of Health
  • Active pharmaceutical ingredients are the chemical formula that makes authentic medicines work.
  • Some counterfeit products contain incorrect dosages of active pharmaceutical ingredients which can cause great harm to your health.
  • Other counterfeit products contain impurities which are like ‘poison’ to the body.
  • Counterfeit medicines pose significant health risks as key ingredients may be absent, diluted or poisonous.
  • These substances can make counterfeit medications worse than useless in treating illnesses, as some can actually be hazardous to the user’s health.
  • Patients may experience unexpected side effects, allergic reactions or worsening of their medical condition.
  • A great number of counterfeit medicines seized by the Ministry of Health Malaysia were found to be mixed or adulterated with other active ingredients such as listed poisons, steroids and some even include poisonous and harmful toxins9.
  • ‘Adulterated’ means that the original product has been added or mixed with another inferior substance and/or unapproved substances, thus making it poorer in quality and its effects on one’s health is unknown.
  • Many men and women who suffer from problems especially pertaining to sexuality are generally too embarrassed to discuss it with their doctors. Often these conditions are almost always treatable. Furthermore it is advisable to obtain proper medical treatment to minimize any long-term effects.
  • If one were to purchase medicines from street peddlers or from traditional medicine shops, there is no absolute guarantee that the medicine is not counterfeit or adulterated.
  • Often people believe that it is cheaper and more convenient to purchase from unofficial sources. Also people who are seeking treatments for sexual issues often prefer sources that do not require them to have face to face consultation. We encourage people to seek official channels and speak to their doctors and pharmacists to understand their conditions better. It is important to be alert as products from unofficial sources do not go through strict regulatory processes.
  • You may not know that the medicines you’ve purchased are counterfeits. That’s why it’s important to purchase medicines from a licensed and trusted pharmacy and healthcare professionals only.
  • You must be vigilant when examining your personal medications and pay attention to the presence of unsealed containers or changes in the packaging of the products.
  • Difference in the physical appearance of the medications, taste and side effects experienced are some of the possible signs that you may have purchased counterfeit medicines.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything unusual about the medication you are taking. Give them a complete list of all the medicines that you consume. Don’t forget to mention any dietary supplements you consume, including vitamins and herbal supplements.
  • Fake medicine may be contaminated or contain the wrong or no active ingredients that can be harmful to your health or condition10.
  • Don’t buy from websites that sell prescription drugs without a prescription.
  • Don’t buy from websites that offer to prescribe a drug for the first time without a physical exam by your doctor.
  • Don’t give any personal information – such as credit card information, medical or health history.
  • Be weary of online consultations – unlicensed websites often offer this service to make them look professional and legal11.
  • Buy from safe, reputable pharmacies, or obtain your treatments from a doctor. You may be confused about a current or new condition, or you may be embarrassed to discuss some issues with your doctor – it is important however that you should never attempt to treat your condition without first having a medical consultation.
  • First, talk to the pharmacist where you bought the medication or contact your healthcare professional for medical advise.
  • Once your safety is assured, report the medication to the authorities with the help of your Health Care Professional – your report could help save the life of others!12.

Lookout for the various anti counterfeit strategies to help you determine the authenticity of your medication.

  • Security Seals
  • Color Shifting Ink Logo
  • Radio Frequency Identification
  • Tablet Coating
  • Chemical Markers and micro-texts
  • Encrypted serialization
  • Electronic Patient Verification13

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