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Counterfeited ED Drugs | What Should You Know About It?

April 21st, 2016

Counterfeited ED Drugs | What Should You Know About It?

Counterfeited ED Drugs – What Should You Know About It?

The online purchase of medications and counterfeited drugs (especially drugs for treating erectile dysfunction) has long been a topic of huge debate. However, the recent decision taken by well-reputed pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer about selling Viagra online has triggered serious discussions and concerns in different sectors.

Erectile dysfunction is a problem that is far more common than the reported statistics. Unfortunately, most men are hesitant to discuss it out in the open or seek medical help to investigate the actual cause. Most men find it rather easy to access information via internet, or order medications and drugs to manage the symptoms. No wonder why Viagra is one of the most counterfeited drug. Online purchasing deals for ED drugs attract men because they don’t have to talk about their sexual problems with a doctor (or even their partner). Also online drug purchase also saves money. However, this approach is wrong because online available ED drugs are not reliable as there is no proof of their safety and authenticity. Viagra is not the only concerned drug, other ED drugs like Cialis and Levitra are also counterfeited at a large scale.

Risks Of Online Buying Of ED Drugs

Following are the risks that you can possibly face, when buying ED drugs online:

  • There is great possibility that these drugs are counterfeited. In 2011, the maker of Viagra, Pfizer Inc. carried out tests by sampling online purchased drugs (claiming to be Viagra). Upon testing it was found that 77% of online drugs sold under Viagra brand name were counterfeited.
  • When Pfizer tested online drug samples of Viagra, many health hazardous substances such as dry wall, printer ink, boric acid, floor wax and rat poison were found instead of active ingredient. Therefore one should be very careful while buying drugs online because you might be buying poison for yourself!
  • The packages of online available drug may skip the critical information necessary for the patient. The authentic licensed Viagra is always shipped along with the product information sheet which contains information regarding how to take medicine, warnings and possible side effects. For example, it is mentioned that men who are taking nitrates should not use Viagra because this can drastically lower their blood pressure.
  • Living With Erectile Dysfunction imageOnline available drugs might not contain active ingredient i.e. the ingredient responsible to produce effect. According to Pfizer, when tests were carried out on these counterfeited Viagra samples, about 30 – 50 % drugs were devoid of the active ingredient i.e. sildenafil citrate.
  • If someone has erectile dysfunction problem then he must see a doctor because sometimes ED is not just a sexual problem but it can be a sign of an underlying heart disease or diabetes. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before looking for symptomatic relief.
  • Many sites ask for online screening, sometimes with cost. However, you don’t know whether the person on other side of screen is actually a doctor or not?

How To Know Whether Your ED Drug Is Counterfeited Or Not?

Counterfeiters work really hard in making a fake drug look like the real one. Mostly consumers are not able to differentiate between the original and fake product. Pfizer has studied visual differences between real Viagra and counterfeited Viagra. According to the researchers of Pfizer, the font size might be slightly changed and the colors on logo of Pfizer can differ too. However a common man may not notice such differences. So here are some red flagged signs which can tell whether you have a real or fake Viagra.

  • Counterfeited Viagra can be packed in an unsealed container or unsealed blister packs.
  • Counterfeited drug do not usually come with patient information sheet.

Stay Safe While Buying Medicines Online

If you want to buy medicines online then make sure that you are buying from a legal online pharmacy. Now a days when it’s hard to figure out whether the medicine is real or not, authentication of online pharmacy websites are also difficult. Here are few points to consider when assessing an online pharmacy:

  • Does website requires prescription for medicine filling?
  • Are they selling generic Viagra? Keep in mind that generic Viagra is not sold online in the United States
  • An authentic website will definitely display their physical address and phone number.
  • Some online pharmacies ask for signing legal documents. This clears them if there is any problem in future.

VIPPS And BeSafeRx

BeSafeRx is a web resource by FDA which provides each state’s board of pharmacy license database. This will help in finding out whether the online pharmacy is legitimate or not. While VIPPS (verified internet pharmacy practice sites) is a certification program by NABP. A VIPPS-certified pharmacy will have VIPPS seal on its websites, assuring its authenticity.


1. Vredenbregt, M. J., Blok-Tip, L., Hoogerbrugge, R., Barends, D. M., & De Kaste, D. (2006). Screening suspected counterfeit Viagra® and imitations of Viagra® with near-infrared spectroscopy. Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis, 40(4), 840-849.

2. Singh, S., Prasad, B., Savaliya, A. A., Shah, R. P., Gohil, V. M., & Kaur, A. (2009). Strategies for characterizing sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil and their analogues in herbal dietary supplements, and detecting counterfeit products containing these drugs. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 28(1), 13-28.

3. Rodomonte, A. L., Gaudiano, M. C., Antoniella, E., Lucente, D., Crusco, V., Bartolomei, M., … & Muleri, N. (2010). Counterfeit drugs detection by measurement of tablets and secondary packaging colour. Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis, 53(2), 215-220.

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