Harms Of Counterfeit Medicine; Think Twice Before Buying
– “250,000 children a year are expected to die due to counterfeit medicine” – The Guardian
Counterfeits are so broad that they are at every nook and cranny. Who would have thought that medicine forgery would be a thing? I mean, for luxury items we can see it coming, but for medicine? Not me. Although I believe there needs to be a line that cannot be crossed in life, counterfeiters certainly don’t hold back. “Karma” does not seem to exist in their book. Faking consumed products is straight-up murder, manslaughter, and homicide. May seem dramatic, but faking consumer products can be lethal to those who take it, especially concerning medicine.
Think about it, people consuming medicine are already sick and short of money. For the impoverished, they resort to cheap medicine thinking this could help them lessen the burden of cost. Instead, their condition worsens, expenditure grows and quality of life becomes less. So when you decide to buy that too-good-to-be-true priced medicine, think twice.
There are few scenarios possible in regards to counterfeit drugs. Let’s look at the harms of counterfeit to health from 4 aspects:
1. Not harmful and no active ingredients ⏸️
When a counterfeit drug contains no active ingredients, it can be fatal to the patient. Although it seems as if no harmful substance is better than containing god-knows-what substances, the effects would still pave the way for you to meet the infamous angel of death. When a drug is ought to be treating a disease, but it doesn’t seem to work. A medical doctor would increase the percentage of dosage without knowing that the patient has been consuming fake drugs. Thus, leading you to be prescribed higher dosage medicine although your body needs less than that. Medicine overdose can be detrimental to a person.
2. Harmful and non-active ingredients ☠️
Some of these drugs contain harmful ingredients such as powdered cement, coloured dye, floor wax, bacteria-laced water, toxic yellow paint, boric acid, and antifreeze (a water-miscible coolant that is majorly used in heat transfer and cooling applications). Antifreeze was used as a substitute for glycerin in cough syrup. The outcome of using antifreeze has killed 365 people in Panama, 84 in Nigeria, 18 in Guangzhou. Although inactive ingredients do not increase or affect the therapeutic action of the active ingredient, patients may have allergic reactions or other adverse effects to inactive ingredients. Mixing harmful ingredients with a possible allergic reaction is a time-ticking bomb. The side effects of consuming these ingredients can vary from kidney damage, kidney failure, cancer and developmental defects.
3. Change of drug ingredients 🔄
In the United States, a weight loss medication orlistat (Alli) by GlaxoSmithKline had been counterfeited and sold widely. GlaxoSmithKline is a British multinational pharmaceutical company. You may notice the “gsk” label on various medication products. The fake version of GlaxoSmithKline’s weight loss medication replaced orlistat with sibutramine (an appetite suppressant which has been put to a stop in many countries). Submitramine is lethal to certain groups. Some may have side effects of mania, suicide, palpitations and many more.
4. Wrong dosage and concentration ⚠️
It is reported that a physician had discovered botox (onabotulinumtoxina) was much more concentrated than the original medicine and is not suitable to be used on humans. Over-concentrated botox can result in respiratory paralysis and near death. This has been experienced for several patients, and the physician himself. The wrong dosage of medicine can lead to many complications and even addiction without you realising.
Before you decide to buy that very convincing and cheap medicine, think twice, even thrice! Is it worth the risk? The purpose of medicine is to treat and heal you, not the opposite. It is always best to spend a little more and receive the desired outcome, instead of continuously spending a small amount of money for nothing. We have only one body, invest for your health.
As Buddha said, “To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.”
In the next article, we’ll be discussing other aspects of how counterfeits are harmful. Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter!