Wednesday, January 27, 2010

IJCP: Counterfeit Internet Drugs Pose Significant Risks and Discourage Vital Health Checks

A story posted online at on January 20th explores a recently published review of online internet drugs posted by the International Journal of Clinical Practice (IJCP).

One of the major warnings from the IJCP report is that men who buy fake internet drugs for erection problems can face significant risks from potentially hazardous contents and bypassing healthcare systems could leave associated problems like diabetes and high blood pressure undiagnosed.

The IJCP review, which looks at more than fifty studies published between 1995 and 2009 and provides a valuable overview of the scale of counterfeit internet drugs, with a specific focus on erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs.

Here are some interesting statements from the story:

  • Medical and pharmaceutical experts from the UK, Sweden and USA carried out a detailed review of the growing problem of counterfeit drugs. Estimates suggest that up to 90 per cent of these illegal preparations are now sold on the internet.

  • These have played a key role in driving the growth of counterfeit drugs, with studies suggesting that as many as 2.3 million ED drugs are sold a month, mostly without prescription, and that 44 per cent of the Viagra offered on the internet is counterfeit.

  • The presence of unknown pharmaceutically active ingredients and/or impurities may lead to undesirable and serious adverse events, even death" warns lead author and journal editor Graham Jackson, a London-based cardiologist.

  • Pfizer, which manufactures Viagra, analyzed 2,383 suspected counterfeit samples forwarded to the company by law enforcement agencies between 2005 and 2009. It found that that a Hungarian sample contained amphetamine, a UK sample contained caffeine and bulk lactose and that printer ink had been used to color some samples blue. Other samples contained metronidazole, which can have significant adverse effects when combined with alcohol."

  • And a study of 370 seized "Viagra" samples carried out by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health found that only 10 were genuine, with a range of other drugs present in the samples.

  • "In some cases producing counterfeit medicine can be ten times as profitable per kilogram as heroin, yet in the UK someone can face greater legal sanctions if they produce a counterfeit T-shirt.

  • "What is clear is that we need much greater public awareness of the risks of buying counterfeit drugs, as lives are at risk.

To learn more about pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting solutions, visit:

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