If you purchase your medicines online, always see your doctor and get a written prescription first. Never buy medications from an online pharmacy that is not duly registered. Become suspicious if they offer to write prescriptions or sell pharmaceuticals without prescription.
For instance in the EU the "Common Logo
" identifies legitimate online pharmacies, further the European Medicines Agency (EMA) provides an overview of national registers in the EU
In the USA the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
(NABP) provides the Verified Internet Pharmaceutical Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal and lists registered pharmacies.
If you are traveling abroad, overcome the temptation to buy cheap medicine from suspicious sources. An offer “too good to be true” almost always has a downside.
Evidence of potential counterfeits
Little details can identify a counterfeited product, even if you don’t have a genuine product at hand to compare:
Printed packaging materials
- Does the packaging look as though it has been compromised (i.e. seal broken, tampered with or perforated)
- Look for differences in packaging (i.e. size, quality, material, colour, added labels or missing imprints)
- Check the printing quality and typeface (logo, brand name and text)
- Check for spelling mistakes (the correct name: Boehringer Ingelheim, Ingelheim am Rhein)
Appearance of the pharmaceutical product
- Are pills or capsules cracked, chipped or otherwise damaged?
- Has the pill, capsule or liquid changed colour? Does it appear any different from earlier products obtained?
- Has the pharmaceutical a different consistency, smell or taste?
Safety and efficacy of the pharmaceutical product
- Does a pharmaceutical product that showed good effect in past prescriptions no longer have any effect? A change in efficacy and tolerability may also be a hint that a counterfeit medication may have been involved, especially when other factors, such as those described above, appear to be present.
What to do when counterfeit drugs are suspected
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist, if you notice anything unusual about the medication you are taking. They know to whom to forward helpful information, like location and conditions of purchase and the suspicious sample, for further evaluation.
Or you might contact one of our local call centers for further assistance.