Checking the authenticity of medicines at home
How do you determine whether something is real or fake? There are several counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs that may be harmful to health. Any fake drug is a product that does not do what it claims to do or any drug which is formulated or made to appear something that it is not. The term may also identify a drug that is fraudulently and deliberately mislabeled with regard to the source/identity and fake packaging. The consequences of using counterfeit medication will naturally be devastating. The issue of fake drugs has remained in spite of all attempts to comply with standards courtesy of regulatory bodies.
You should thus have your own product authentication solutions in case you do not have access to proper testing equipment for checking the same. You can always take the help of a Government certified pharmacy in Liverpool for getting access to safe and certified medication. You should be careful with regard to choosing the best pharmacy for the family as well. Here are some tips to check medicine authenticity.
- Visual Inspection- Visual inspection, as mentioned by the WHO (World Health Organization) in 1999, is still the first and most basic step for identification of prospective fake drugs, irrespective of the analytical methods that are implemented. This is because such observations are valuable leads for the identification of fake products, even when there is no knowledge of the physical attributes of any genuine medication. You should carefully examine the medicine package and contents before buying/using the same. See whether the package seems suspicious or different than earlier. Check for any tampering with the security seal while finding breaks/tears in the same. Find out any unusual print colour, font sizes, fonts and spelling mistakes. Check legibility of information on the primary and secondary packages alike. Check the batch number, manufacturer’s address and expiry date on the secondary package and whether they are the same as those on the primary package. Check whether the registration number is suitably printed or has been tampered with. Visually inspect the dosage form. Check for any differences in the physical appearance of the drug. These may include the following:
- Excessive pieces/powder of tablets at the bottom of the container.
- Chips/cracks in tablets, mottling, swelling, fusion or discolouration.
- Crystal appearance on container walls or tablets.
- Hardening/softening/swelling/cracking/discoloration/mottling of capsule shell.
- Check organoleptic attributes of the dosage form.
- Mobile Authentication Service via SMS- MAS (Mobile Authentication Service) is one of the best technologies used for preventing fake drug issues. This technology has given people the power to identify fake drugs. MAS is one example of such services all over the world. This covers packaging of drugs with scratch cards positioned on the package from the manufacturing point. When scratched, the codes revealed may be sent free of charge to particular coordinates, depending upon the service selected by the manufacturer. Thereafter, the sender gets a reply, confirming whether the drug is fake or genuine.
- Source- The drug source will also help in determining whether you are purchasing a genuine or fake drug. Filling the prescription at a reputed pharmacy will lower the chances of buying any fake drugs. Buying from unqualified and nondescript vendors will greatly increase your chances of landing up with fake or counterfeit drugs. You should be careful to avoid such dealings in this regard.
- Pricing- This is another identification method for fake and counterfeit medicines. If the price is lower than what you expect, then you will have to think again. Yet, this is not always accurate, particularly for some items which may be retailed at the same prices as the actual/genuine counterparts.
- Unexpected Side Effects- Fake/counterfeit drugs will have inert substances other than the suitable API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) in most scenarios. They may also have incorrect substances or improper dosage, or even substances that are hazardous, which do not have any therapeutic effects. Unusual or sudden side effects, worsening of any medical conditions, allergic reactions and such issues after consuming medication may be a helpful way to identify any counterfeit or fake drug. The medication should be stopped immediately if any of these symptoms are visible.
This is a handy guide towards suitably identifying counterfeit or fake drugs in a bid to safeguard your health and wellness from any adverse effects.