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Counterfeit drugs

Around 35% of the medication sold in the Middle East is fake, compared to just 1% in the US. Kipp examines the threat posed by this $75 billion global trade, and what regional policymakers are doing about it.

March 15, 2010 7:50 by

What you can do

On the heels of a high-profile bust in the suburbs of Beirut, local pharmacists around Lebanon’s capital city offered a number of suggestions for simple precautionary measures to help reduce the chances of buying a counterfeit drug:

- Ensure that lot numbers, expiry dates, and serial numbers are all present, along with intact safety seals, and manufacturer’s literature.  Tablet and packaging appearance should remain consistent, and clients should be wary of deeply discounted drugs.

- Size, shape, color, shape, and taste should remain consistent.  Contact the local Ministry of Health to if you are concerned that you have received a counterfeit product.

- Ask your pharmacist about tamper-proof safeguards on packaging, such as three dimensional emblems that are difficult to forge.

- Examine the manufacturer’s contact information – addresses and phone numbers.  Ensure there are no inconsistencies with the contact information given on previous packaging materials.

- Buy medications from authorized retailers who maintain a history of reputable business practice.


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