Spotting a fake

Spotting a fake medicine can be extremely difficult, even for the experts.  Sometimes it is only possible using forensic analysis.  The reality is that counterfeiters are becoming increasingly sophisticated, as befits a criminal enterprise where the potential profits are huge.

For example, could you tell the difference between the fake medicine and the real one, in any of the photographs shown below?

fake pills.jpg

If you guessed any of those correctly then the chances are that it was exactly that - a guess.  In fact, if this was real life, it could have been the best guess you ever made because, had you taken the fake medicine in the first photograph, you would now be digesting brick dust, boric acid, floor polish and lead-based road paint.  needless to say, none of those ingredients are in the genuine medicine.

In each case above, you had the real pack or tablet as a comparison.  Imagine if that hadn't been the case.  you would have had even less chance of identifying the fake.  Incidentally, in every photograph, the fake is on the right.  How did you do?

Get it wrong, and not only might you not get the medicine you need.  You might swallow a much bigger problem.  The interactive table on this link, from the Partnership for Safe Medicines, shows some of the substances that have been found in fake medicines, and why you should take care to avoid them.


Of course it is scary, but if you are careful and use common sense, you are very unlikely to receive a falsified medicine.  You can employ some simple counter-measures to monitor your medicines and you can become the last barrier to harm.  For some great advice, click here.










News from ASOP EU

New scientific article aims to help simplify fake medicine terminology

4 Apr 2017

A new in depth analysis of the evolution of the descriptions applied to falsified, counterfeit and fake medicines has just been published. It aims to help clarify and simplify this hitherto controversial area. With the number of increasing illegally operating websites selling medicines across the world clear and easy to understand descriptors which will help to make public awareness raising campaigns more effective.

ASOP EU member adopts top level domain name .pharmacy

23 Mar 2017

To help ensure absolute security and recognition of a genuine fully legal online seller of medicines, the web page of the European Association of Mail Service Pharmacies (EAMSP) recently became the first in Europe to switch its Top Level Domain to .pharmacy. 

EAASM and ASOP EU to be present at the 22nd Congress of the European Association Of Hospital Pharmacists 22-24 March 2017.

10 Mar 2017

Mike Isles will be speaking on “Falsified Medicines: The Role of the Pharmacist in Raising Patient Awareness.




ASOP EU Members


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