Friday, August 14, 2009

US Anti-Depressant Market Drives Counterfeit Medications

By: Alan Clock, Senior Vice President, XStream Systems

An article printed in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry has been reported on by every major US media outlet. The crux of the article centers on the statistic that “about 10 percent of Americans -- or 27 million people -- were taking antidepressants in 2005. This was double the number from the same study in 1996.

This surge in prescriptions vaulted anti-depressants, as a therapeutic class of pharmaceuticals, to become some of the top selling medications in the United States. Although the data used in the study is no longer tracked, it is presumed the number of Americans using anti-depressants continues to climb at a steady rate.

Most of the stories and reporting of this study has primarily focused on the prescribing and demographics of the study but as an additional take for Secure Pharma Chain Blog, we consider the proliferation as a correlation to anti-depressants now becoming, as a therapeutic class of pharmaceuticals, some of the most highly counterfeited and adulterated drugs both in the United States and worldwide.

In nearly every study, regulatory or published report within the United States and abroad, anti-depressants are among the top in value and in volume, highly counterfeited and adulterated drugs.

Clearly this is not a huge revelation, the cost of these medications are high, the number of people who take these medications is high and the issue regarding the wish for patients to conceal that they are taking these medications have led to many concealing their efforts to procure these products.

In many cases, it is difficult for the patient or health care provider to discover that they are not taking the proper prescribed therapy because of the nature of the illness that it is intended to relieve. Most patients will never realize that their drugs are counterfeit at all and will attribute their ineffectiveness to other issues.

As the market for anti-depressants continues to climb so will the need for patients and providers to diligently seek out authentic medications.

Here are a few thoughts on how to protect you and your family as a patient against counterfeit medications:

  • Always buy pharmaceuticals from a trusted, brick and mortar, licensed pharmacy in your community.

  • If you purchase from the internet, only purchase from sites that are sponsored by a licensed, established pharmacy like a retail chain or from site that is verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

  • Never, ever purchase prescription drugs from an internet site or a pharmacy that does require a prescription from your physician. Sites that offer a physician prescription on-line are not legitimate.

  • Carefully examine your medications for differences in size, color, consistency and taste. If you notice any differences immediately notify your pharmacist or physician.

The best way to protect you and your family from counterfeit medications is that if the price or the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is and you should not purchase those drugs.

Realize that in this world where a criminal individual or enterprise can make far more money with far less risk by manufacturing, distributing and selling counterfeit medications than in selling illicit drugs, everyone needs to be on guard against this crime that will impact your health and the health of your family.

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