Skip to Content

Fake Drugs Getting More Sophisticated

From UPI Health News (Business) (January 7, 2010)

Those who make counterfeit prescriptions are using new tactics to get a piece of the estimated $75-billion market in knockoffs drugs, U.S. researchers say.

An article in Chemical & Engineering News says counterfeiting ploys include embracing the same technology that pharmaceutical companies use to identify their products as genuine.

Sarah Everts, associate editor of Chemical & Engineering News, said today’s fake drugs do not just look like the real thing, they may contain small amounts of real active ingredients like pain relievers such as acetaminophen to thwart testers or fool patients into thinking they’re getting better.

Sometimes bogus pills contain unexpected drugs, such as Viagra found in counterfeit malaria medicine, but fake drugs may also contain toxic ingredients. Counterfeit cough medicines killed hundreds of people in Nigeria, Panama and Bangladesh in recent years, the article says.

Drug counterfeiters are also using holograms and other security features to make their packaging look identical to the genuine thing, the articles says.

Law enforcement officials and legitimate drug manufacturers are responding with new security approaches, but any new security features for packaging last only about 18 months before counterfeiters can produce mimics, the article says.

Posted: January 2010