You wouldn’t dream of giving fake medicines to a child or a much loved pet! So why do so many people risk their health and lives by buying counterfeit medicines online? The unfortunate truth is that the victims of counterfeit medicines do not appreciate what they are letting themselves in for. In China 100,000 people die every year as a result of fake drugs.
Viagra is just one example of the counterfeit drug production that is becoming a “worldwide problem”, with Cialis, Reductil and Lipitor also being popular choices for the counterfeiters. The drug industry represents a multi-billion pound market in the UK alone, and with the rise of illegitimate pharmacies on the Internet people have never been more
exposed to the risks of fake medicines.
Drug forgery has long been recognised as a problem for the developing world, with an estimated 60 per cent of drugs in Nigeria being fake, however ecommerce and the internet is transforming what was considered a developing world problem into a serious health issue that crosses the globe. It is estimated that 8 – 10 per cent of medicines sold globally are counterfeit with the consequences of taking them unpredictable.
Cheaper medicines on the internet?
Many consumers are fooled into thinking that things are generally cheaper on the internet, or turn to the internet as a cheap option for buying medication. The reality is that medicines that are sold for very cheap prices online could result in the price to human health being far more costly.
Most internet users will be exposed to adverts for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction treatment adverts if they browse the web for long enough, with a large proportion of these adverts served from India promoting “Generic Viagra” or “Cheap Viagra”. There is no such thing as Generic Viagra and cheap Viagra is not likely to be genuine when the prices offered are compared with the price of the real thing.
Fake Viagra in the news
There are regular cases reported in the press of counterfeit drug factories being raided, and batches of medicines being recalled because fake medicines have been discovered in circulation. Perhaps one of the most shocking discoveries was a Viagra factory in Egypt where cement was made during the day and Viagra made during the night, with the same cement mixer, in the most insanitary conditions.
In April 2012 a man from Manchester was ordered to pay £14 Million by the Southwark Crown Court, or face 10 years in prison, for selling fake Viagra and slimming pills on the internet. The scale of this fine demonstrates the size of the online business this man ran, and underlines how widespread the issue of counterfeit medicines is.
Get Real, Get a Prescription
Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra, launched their RealDanger website in an attempt to raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to make better choices about how they acquire medicines. This website is a valuable resource that not only attempts to safeguard people from dangerous counterfeit medicines, it also raises awareness of the issue.
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