To date, there is currently no requirement for a medicine to have a complete record of its journey through the supply chain, indicating that patients cannot be 100% certain that the medicine is not counterfeit. When buying medicines, ask your pharmacist what steps they have taken to protect their stock from the risk of counterfeit medicines.
- Do they only buy from safe sources?
- Do they undertake any product verification?
If you are in the UK, for example, ask the pharmacist if they are aware of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency guidance ‘Counterfeit Medicines – Guidance for Pharmacists’. If you are outside the UK, contact your national drug regulatory authority and check if it issues guidance to pharmacists.
These verifications can also be used to check that your medicines are genuine if you choose to buy over the internet or via mail order (if, perhaps, you do not have a local pharmacy). However, due to the high incidence of counterfeit medicines sold through illegal internet pharmacies, the checks you should undertake are explained in more detail in the buying medicines online section.