There are many more ways to buy prescription pills or tablets today than ever before. You can even buy them from an online pharmacy. Unfortunately, new transaction avenues also mean new ways for shady businesses to scam patients. Below, we’ll show you how to tell if your prescription drugs are counterfeit.
Check the Imprint Code
One of the easiest ways to check the legitimacy of your medicine is via its imprint code. The pharmaceutical imprint code is the series of numbers, letters, or symbols imprinted on all FDA-approved pills and tablets in the US.
One of the reasons that the pharmaceutical imprint code is important is that it helps to identify counterfeit prescription drugs. Check the imprint code of the pill or tablet—if it doesn’t have one or the code cannot be identified in the FDA database, it could very well be counterfeit.
Change in Size, Shape, or Color
If you’ve been taking the same prescription drugs for a while, you eventually get used to the size, shape, and color of the pill or tablet and can probably identify it out of a blind lineup. But if the drugs suddenly seem different after a refill or after buying them from a different pharmacy, that’s a clear warning sign.
FDA-approved pills and tablets don’t suddenly change without warning. If you notice a sudden change, don’t take the drug. Instead, see if there’s any news relating to the change in the appearance of the pill or tablet. If not, you may have been given fraudulent drugs.
The Six Ps of Safe Medicine Purchase
A good way to tell if your prescription drugs are counterfeit is to learn the six Ps of buying safe medicine: place, prescription, promises, price, privacy, and product. Ensure the purchase passes the six Ps of safe medicinal transactions when buying drugs.
Place: Never buy medicine from an unknown marketplace or shady pharmacy. If you buy from somewhere new or purchase drugs abroad, double-check the pharmacy’s certifications and the local health regulatory body.
Prescription: Never buy prescription drugs from a place that doesn’t ask for a prescription. If you purchase pills or tablets online, make sure they ask for prescription verification.
Promises: Be wary of any pharmacy or drug seller that promises too much or makes wild claims about the quality of their drugs. If they’re using more sales lingo than medical terms, that’s a clear sign they’re not selling quality medicine.
Price: Watch out for “too good to be true” prescription prices. If the place you’re buying from offers significantly lower prices than other pharmacies, it’s likely a counterfeit.
Privacy: Do not supply financial information to a website without a secure online payment system. If you’re buying from an online pharmacy, do not reveal more personal information than would be necessary for a regular pharmacist to fill an order.
Product: Does the product’s appearance seem different than other times you’ve taken it? Are the listed ingredients different, or does it claim to have different properties? Carefully assess that product itself to ascertain whether it is counterfeit or legitimate.
If you keep these things in mind, you should be able to spot a counterfeit drug scam from a mile away.