Fake drugs do not just pose domestic threats but they affect the entire globe drastically, being the leading cause of health risks worldwide. This unfortunate issue is very common outside of the United States but surprisingly the citizens of America are not immune to the reach of this illegal market. There have been numerous cases of counterfeit drugs reported in the United States of America.
The statistics in the United States are better than other countries but for a superpower, even 1 percent is a very dangerous number. In view of the problem even if 0.0001 percent of the 4 billion prescriptions in the United States every year were contaminated, this would mean that a whopping 40,000 prescriptions could be very deadly.
The fake medicines sold in America are mostly for treatments such as migraines, cancer, arthritis, birth control, cosmetic procedures, infertility, asthma, muscular degeneration, and osteoporosis, etc. The hidden poisons in fake drugs compromise heavy metals such as chrome, mercury, uranium, arsenic, and aluminum. Actual poisons such as antifreeze, PCBs, rat poison and boric acid. Common household items like paint thinner, floor wax, wall paint, sheetrock, and brick dust. And certain drugs that consumers do not even ask for such as haloperidol, sibutramine, and hongdenafil.
American citizens in about thirty states have died from counterfeit prescription drugs made with deadly doses of fentanyl in 2017 alone. The well-known musician Prince was found dead with fake hydrocodone pills that were filled with fentanyl. Deaths due to lethal drugs is on a rise in the US. In 2007 and 2008 fakes of heparin which is a blood-thinning drug killed about 149 Americans. There are many more deaths that are likely to go undocumented every year.
There has been a radical increase in the fake drug market in America. In 2014 about 60 different Pfizer products were counterfeited as opposed to just 20 in the year 2008. The most popular fake product is ChapStick. In a wealthy country like America where drugs are tested frequently, many fakes can still slip through the cracks. This occurs mostly when patients or the clinicians purchase drugs over the internet from different countries. Many pharmacies buy medicines from countries that have lax regulatory systems. Most of the drugs that are bought online are transported via mail. If the customs officials suspect the quality of the drugs then they are investigated.
The US. Immigration and Customs Enforcement nor the FDA have been able to provide the actual percentage of the drugs that are confiscated or checked each year as reported by Newsweek. The investigation process actually involves 25 steps and they are very costly in manpower, time and resources. Hence the officials only seize the drugs that might affect a large part of the population, not all doubtful drugs are seized.
Many clinics and doctors in the 45 states in 2017 received warnings by the FDA regarding the purchase of fake IUDs. Clinics and doctors in eight states were convicted of trafficking fake IUDs. Most of the patients do not actually witness the IUD before it is inserted. Plus they cannot check or remove it even if they are suspicious.
The counterfeit drug market in the US has not been addressed by any of its political leaders. Every head of Health and Human Services and the FDA for the last 15 years has bluntly refused to certify that the drug importation is a safe and secure process.
It was reported in 2013 that the drug Procrit which was used to treat anemic patients went through a large counterfeit scare. The investigators of the FDA discovered about three fake drug batches that bore different expiration dates and numbers. The fake drugs were made up of no active ingredient, a clear liquid and two life-threatening strains of bacteria. Due to this many already weak patients were ingesting potentially deadly bacteria.
The best way to protect one’s self against counterfeit drugs is to avoid purchasing medicines of the internet that is outside the United States of America and a site that does not clearly provide a licensed pharmacist to answer questions.