Falsified medicines

Counterfeit medicines

Buy your medicine from legal retail stores – pharmacies and legal pharmacy online services. Do not buy medicine from illegal online pharmacies or suspicious sellers. Medicines purchased from illegal sellers may be falsified and harmful to your health.

Falsified medicines are illegally manufactured medicinal products. The packages contain incorrect information about the origin of the product and there is no guarantee of the content or safety of the falsified product. The ingredients of falsified products might be wrong, ineffective or even dangerous.

Which medicines are being falsified?

Globally, the most commonly falsified medicines are antimalarial drugs and antibiotics. They are a significant problem, especially in poorer countries. In practice, all types of medicines are being falsified: extremely expensive cancer drugs, very cheap painkillers, erection and weight loss drugs as well as life-saving drugs. Nutritional supplements are also falsified by adding a medicinal substance that is not listed on the labelling.

Where are falsified medicines found?

Falsified medicines are a global problem. In countries where drug control system is poor, falsified medicines are sold both in markets and pharmacies. For Finns, the risk of receiving falsified medicines is particularly related to drugs purchased illegally from the Internet or brought home from a trip abroad.

People selling falsified medicine online are not interested in your health or a prescription. The only thing they are interested in is your credit card. Websites can look very professional. They build consumer trust by photographs of qualified professionals, various logos and certifications and marketing statements.

How can I recognise a falsified medicine?

It is not always possible to spot a falsified with the naked eye. A falsified product can be very skilfully made all the way down to the package material, making it very difficult to spot. Even experts often need demanding laboratory tests to identify a falsified product.

Why are medicines falsified?

Drug falsifying and illegal sale of drugs are criminal activities for financial gain. The operation is typically globally organised, and it is difficult to track the operators. Demand feeds the trade in illicit medicines and the distribution of falsified products. Purchase of falsified medicines supports criminal activity.

How is the legal distribution chain protected against falsified medicines?

The manufacture and distribution chain of medicines involve various obligations and authority surveillance to ensure safety. In the European Union, legislation has been prepared to strengthen the protection of the legal manufacture and distribution chain against falsified products. For example, the Introduction of a common logo helps to identify legal online pharmacies.

Prescription drugs have new safety features to ensure that the package is genuine and unopened.