It may be tempting to go around the traditional medical system to purchase prescription medications – for instance, by using overseas pharmacy websites. This would me a mistake, however. The fact is, you never know what you're getting when you purchase pills through non-approved channels. Recent discoveries of counterfeit medications in New South Wales have made this clear.
The Australian Journal of Pharmacy reported that the NSW Poisons Information Centre has detected multiple brands of false anti-anxiety pills. These medications, labelled with the names of common medications from various territories, actually contain another substance entirely. Some of the brand names being used by the counterfeiters are not used in Australia, but some are. The fake bottles may have identifying factors such as no manufacturer name. Other than those slip-ups, however, the bottles do look like real prescription medications. The effects of getting the wrong chemicals can be unpredictable and dangerous.
Fortunately for consumers, the Australian Journal of Pharmacy added that there have thus far been no confirmed cases of legitimate Australian pharmacies having any of the falsified pills from the latest wave of counterfeits. Buyers who go through the approved channels should therefore be safe from the risk of these fakes.
This is not the first alert about counterfeit pills in recent months. In December, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on another wave of the same drug coming to Australian shores under false names. Professor Nick Buckley told the Sydney Morning Herald the substance in the pills is not prescribed for medical use in Australia and the side effects of these counterfeit medications are especially hard to predict, as they have not been approved by any regulatory body.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, people who have taken medications that have come through unofficial channels and are experiencing side effects should call Triple Zero, while people who are in less immediate danger can reach out to the NSW Poisons Information Centre by calling 13 11 26.
In the recent NSW cases, the fake medicines reaching Australian shores are doing so through unofficial channels and they have not been confirmed to be circulating through actual health care organisations. If you believe you have received an illegitimate medication through a doctor or other health professional, or you or a loved one has been prescribed the wrong amount of a drug and is now feeling ill effects, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim – reach out to the experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners by calling 1800 004 878 or sending an email to learn about your options.