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Counterfeit Drugs

Consumers have lots of choices in buying prescription drugs these days. But as you search for the best price or most convenience, be careful about the source of your medications. Counterfeit drugs are on the rise, so you need to be vigilant about the quality and integrity of the drugs you buy. You might throw your money away on ineffective drugs, or even worse, you could be harmed by taking drugs that aren’t what they pretend to be.Learn more to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of counterfeit drugs.

  • Know your medications. If you know the size, shape, color, taste, and side effects of the prescriptions you take, you will more easily identify possible counterfeits. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you notice anything different about a medication.
  • Pay attention to packaging. Check for altered or unsealed containers, or changes in the packaging or label. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you notice any changes.
  • Only buy prescription medications from a safe, reputable source. If the seller is unfamiliar check with your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at www.nabp.net or call 847-391-4406. These sources can tell you if the pharmacy is licensed.
  • When you buy medications online, make sure the seller is properly licensed. Check with your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards Pharmacy at www.nabp.net or call 847-391-4406. These sources can tell you if the online seller is licensed. You should check the state board of pharmacy where the online seller is located, and your own state board of pharmacy. Some sites display a seal, such as the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s VIPPS seal, as proof that the site has met state and federal requirements. Dealing with pharmacies that display the VIPPS seal, which means they are Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site, or other similar certification seals, gives you more confidence that they and the products they sell are legitimate. See a list of VIPPS-accredited pharmacies.
  • If you believe you have bought a counterfeit drug, report it. Contact the pharmacist who sold you the medication. Your pharmacist will know if there has been a legitimate change in the color, shape, taste or packaging of the medication. You can also report your suspicions to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you bought the drug by mail, by telephone, or in person, contact the FDA’s Medwatch program at 1-800-332-1088 or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. To report a counterfeit drug that you bought on the Internet, use this online form or call the Medwatch number. In addition, ask your doctor for medical advice if you have taken drugs you suspect are counterfeit.