Fake drugs are booming on the Internet
Whether Viagra, blood pressure medication or anti-aging products: More and more people are ordering medication online, driven by the desire to become more beautiful, leaner and stronger. But the relatively inexpensive preparations are more and more counterfeit products that can even be fatal under certain circumstances.
Sales in most cases via the Internet The trade in counterfeit medicines on the Internet is booming and is causing great unrest among pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies and investigators. According to Peter Keller of the Customs Criminal Police Office, "there are more illegal drugs every year". "Everything that makes you beautiful, slim and strong" is particularly in demand, the expert continued at a forum in Berlin. Manufactured in Eastern Europe or India, for example, the experts say that the drugs would in most cases be sold online. But what at first glance looks like cheap "miracle cures" can quickly become a serious danger for the consumer and in the worst case can even be fatal.
Counterfeit medicines not a national problem The trade in counterfeit medicines is not a national problem. Instead, according to Wolfgang Schmitz from the Customs Criminal Police Office in June this year, 9.8 million plagiarisms were confiscated in around 100 countries during a worldwide raid led by Interpol. But even with this success, Peter Keller has so far only “scratched the iceberg” because, according to the Customs Criminal Police Office, more than two million counterfeit drugs were seized nationwide in the first half of 2013, which would mean an increase of 20 percent compared to the previous year. But how many counterfeits are actually produced remains unknown, "the true extent is in the dark," continues Keller.
Conventional pharmacy the safest way According to the experts, consumers should therefore be particularly careful with medicines from the Internet, because preparations with an unclear origin could quickly become life-threatening. Precisely because counterfeit contraceptives, medicines for rheumatism, cancer or Alzheimer's are also being traded with too many, too few or wrong active ingredients, this means that personal responsibility is particularly in demand. Accordingly, according to the chairman of the drug commission for German pharmacists, Martin Schulz, "the conventional route from the manufacturer directly to the pharmacy is safer".
"Mail order pharmacy register" offers assistance with internet purchases
If you still want to order on the Internet, you should pay attention to the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health (BmfG) to choose a certified mail-order pharmacy. Help is provided here by “a mail-order pharmacy register and a related security logo”, which the German Institute for Medical Documentation (DIMDI) created on behalf of the BmfG. This registers pharmacies “that have an official permit to send medicinal products in Germany”, which can be recognized at a glance by the “safety logo” on the website.
Stronger protection through control system for the detection of plagiarism
For even more security and protection of the consumer, a new system is currently being tested, which should be operational across Europe over the next four years: In the future, it should be possible to use a barcode to check whether vials and boxes and their contents are genuine. (No)