Asian countries producing counterfeit medications

March 17, 2021
4 min read

What is Counterfeit Medication?

Generally, we use medicines to cure the symptoms of any disease. But counterfeit medication means fake medication or drugs produced by unauthorized manufacturers or rotate the expired medication in the market by repacking them and manipulating the expiry dates.

Counterfeit medicines do not contain the proper ratio of the actual pharmaceutical ingredients. It is hard to identify these sub-standard medicines because of the mislabeling that represents them as original, but they are not effective and may cause harm to human health.

Why is it Manufactured?

If we talk about the reason behind the manufacturing of counterfeit medicines, the foremost reason is greed. The suppliers of these untrusted products are the manufacturers or sellers who want only money by hook or crook.

These medicines have a low cost of manufacturing as cheap alternative ingredients are used in them. Hence, the profit margin is high as compared to generic or patented medicines. The suppliers misuse the name of established brands and sell the exact copy of the medication and fool them.

This is a fraudulent activity and causes loss to the pharmacy industry. The medicines ordered online from untrusted suppliers are more likely to be counterfeit than those purchased from physical stores.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is developing a pedigree system to identify counterfeit medicine in the market by tracking the batches from factory to pharmacy.

Radio-frequency identification is another technology that identifies the RFID tags attached to a product batch.

Difference Between Counterfeit Medication and Authentic Medication

In simple words, counterfeit medicines are fake medicines that look like authentic medicines due to their duplicate packaging. They are not beneficial for medical purposes as they do not contain the pharmaceutical values that we expect.

They might be just opposite to our requirements due to any side-effects. To understand better, these are the fundamental differences between them.

Counterfeit Medication

Authentic Medication

Sub-standard ingredients are used

Genuine ingredients are used

Huge profit margins

Fair profit margins

Manufacturers are unauthorized

Manufacturers have a medical license

Fraudulent or illegal business

Totally legal business

Harmful for human health

The welfare of human health


Which Medications have their Counterfeit Version?

There are numerous medications available in the global market that seem to be genuine. You will think that you are taking the right drug and might end up consuming hidden poison. 

The most common medicines that have counterfeit versions are-

  • Cancer Drugs
  • Cardiovascular Medication
  • Painkillers
  • Antibiotics
  • Weight Loss Medicines
  • Psychiatric Pills

What is its Impact on Health?

The production of counterfeit medicines on a large scale is a big challenge for the medical industry. They are not only illegal but also toxic to human health. There can be any side-effects as you don’t know which sub-standard ingredient could cause harm to your immune system.

The adverse effect of these medicines may cause future uncertainties, prolonged illness, or lead death.

Facts About Counterfeit Medication

  • In 2009, Central Drug Standards Control Organization collected and tested around 24,000 drug samples, out of which only 0.46% were substandard. But, this figure increased to 3.16% in the survey of 2017.
  • Also, in 2012, more than 100 heart patients lost their lives due to counterfeit medication.
  • The WHO has estimated that around 10% of the global pharmaceutical products are counterfeit medicines, and about 25% in developing countries are sub-standard. In the United States, 11 people died near Boston, and more than 100 fell sick because of steroids’ impurity.


In the age of online shopping, where you can order almost every product in a single click, people have become habitual of sales, discounts, and complementary products. But, medicines are different from buying apparel, home appliances, or consumer goods as there is no return policy.

You can’t exchange a medicine because the quality was not as good as expected. You might have to face significant health issues if you consume counterfeit medicine because you get more discounts than usual; you should not purchase the medication from a source that you don’t trust. Always remember that your life and health are much important than a few bucks.

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