Counterfeit medicines are part of the broader phenomenon of substandard pharmaceuticals – medicines manufactured at sub standard quality and therefore a threat to any patients’ health and unusable for the prescription of diseases. The difference is that counterfeit medicines are intentionally and fraudulently mislabelled with regards to identity or source.
Both branded and generic products are not spared from counterfeiting.
Counterfeit medicines range from random mixtures of harmful toxic substances to inactive, useless preparations.
In the market occasionally, there can be “high quality” fakes that are produced with the declared active ingredient.
In all cases, contents of counterfeits are unreliable because their sources are unknown or vague and always illegal.
Fake drugs can cause harm to consumers and sometimes life threatening.