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How to spot the fake

1. Check the Packaging

  • Make sure you know what every aspect of your medicine’s packaging looks like, including the blister pack or dispensing system (if it has one).
  • Every time you renew your prescription, compare these aspects against your previous pack. You are looking for even the tiniest difference in clarity of print, colour, seals, etc.
  • Check that the medicine is not expired and that the dosage is correct.
  • Check that there is a patient information leaflet in the correct language.

2. Check the medicine

  • Check carefully that it is consistent in colour and texture with your previous prescription. Does it crumble?
  • Does it smell or taste different?

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

  • Security seals, color shifting ink logo, tablet coating and encrypted serialization are one of the many precautions that consumers can look out for when purchasing their medication.
  • The Ministry of Health introduced the Meditag Hologram that ensures all authentic pharmaceutical products are easily identified through this sticker. Using the Meditag decoder, one can easily identify the authenticity of the product at all licensed pharmacies.

4. Use Electronic Verification

  • Recently, a few medications are carrying a new electronic verification measure called The Patient Authentication for Safety via SMS (PASS) which allows consumers to verify the authenticity of their pharmaceutical products post-purchase directly with the manufacturer to ensure patient safety.
  • This significantly reduces the threat of counterfeit medications.

Beware and BE AWARE of Counterfeit Medicines

How to Avoid Buying Counterfeit Medicines:

  • The best way to avoid counterfeit medicines is to purchase medicines from a reputable pharmacy and your trusted healthcare professional.
  • Request for products in their original packaging (dubious looking packaging is an obvious sign of counterfeit medicines).
  • Look for signs of a removed or switched label.
  • Read and examine the label on the packaging.
  • Look for an altered expiry date
  • Look for subtle changes in the product’s package (compare with previously purchased products)
  • Do not buy medications from an online pharmacy
  • Know your medicines. Compare the physical characteristics of the product – look out for any changes in pill size, shape, texture, colour or taste from a previous prescription.
  • Ensure that the drug is registered with the Ministry of Health and carries the MAL registration and hologram.
  • Do not buy medicines from unauthorized outlets.
  • Use common sense. If a medicine claims to be a ‘miracle cure’ for ailments or ‘guarantees satisfaction’ or is supported only by testimonials from users…the claims are probably false and too good to be true.

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