Patients to get counterfeit warning with each prescription

pharmafile | March 31, 2009 | News story | Manufacturing and Production counterfeits 

New guidance to patients to raise public awareness of fake medicine and its dangers has been launched by the RPSGB and MHRA.

Pharmacies nationwide will receive the guidance, which has been developed in conjunction with patient groups to ensure it is clear and easy to read. Pharmacies will be asked to distribute the new double-sided postcard-sized leaflet to patients in their prescription bags.

The leaflet offers advice to patients about what counterfeit medicine are, how to minimise purchasing fakes and what to do if they suspect they have been sold or supplied counterfeits.

One side of the postcard explains the safest way to purchase medicines and the other outlines 'The dangers of faking it'.

The RPSGB's head of practice Heidi Wright says: "Counterfeit medicine does not work and can make you seriously ill. It's important that people are aware that they should always get their medicine from a reputable source such as a pharmacist or a registered online pharmacy site which has the RPSGB's Internet Pharmacy Logo – and I hope these postcards will help to achieve that."

The MHRA is also looking at ways to target those that use the internet to buy counterfeit medicine.

Guidance for pharmacists explains the background to counterfeit medicine production and highlights how organised criminal gangs have become involved in the production of illegal medicines, supplying them through the internet, often to unwitting patients.

It offers pharmacists invaluable practical advice on the correct steps to take when they encounter suspected counterfeit medicines. These steps include reporting illegal websites to the MHRA to ensure immediate patient safety.

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