Cheapest isn’t necessarily “best”


Had an interesting TV interview the other day.  This was by a German TV channel which wanted to show that taking over the counter drugs was a dangerous practice, and had been to great pains to do some secret filming in Thai pharmacies.

The drug they wished to highlight was our old friend (or probably better described as the “friend of the old”), the blue diamonds.  They had chosen Thailand because so many blue diamonds were being taken here, and they wanted to show the disastrous side effects from taking the fake pills.

During the course of the interview I pointed out that Germany has its own red light areas, so they could get the blue diamond statistics much closer to home, also we were not inundated with octogenarians with heart failure and loaded condoms, and “over the counter” drugs could be found all over the world, and not just here.

Guess what – they cut my interview out of the feature.  Do not forget the journalist’s creed – “Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story”!

So back to counterfeit blue diamonds, how do you find out that yours are real or otherwise?  Every day I receive Spam offering me the opportunity to keep a battalion of beauties satisfied.  These are the internet email offers of cut-price drugs that will keep me in a state of perpetual priapism, a continuing (and painful) male erection and the term was coined after the Greek god Priapus who is shown in paintings to have a central member like a third leg.

Offers like these which are too good to be true, are usually just that – too good to be true!  These cut-price drugs are not the real deal.  The chances are very high that they are counterfeit.

One of the patients showed me a box purporting to be genuine brand name Cialis tablets, which were not having the desired effect.  I was immediately suspicious as the box was not all that well printed.  I was quite sure they were counterfeit when I read the Patient Information slip.  The English grammar was incorrect, and there were spelling mistakes.  Eli Lilly, the ‘real’ manufacturer does not send out misspelled literature with their product.

The World Health Organization puts the annual amount of counterfeit drugs sales at something like $35-40 billion per year.  No wonder I (and you) get so many offers of drugs through the internet.  That’s a very large pie.

The World Health Organization also estimates that one in three drugs on the worldwide market today is counterfeit.  One in three!  Sometimes the fake drugs contain toxic substances from which you can die.

Pfizer’s laboratories analyze fakes and a representative stated, “We’ve seen boric acid, we’ve seen heavy metals, we’ve seen road paint, we’ve also seen floor wax to coat the pills and give them a shine.  Obviously, they are detrimental to anyone’s health.”

It is not just Eli Lilly that is targeted.  Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (yes chaps, the makers of the blue diamonds) estimates its annual losses to counterfeit drug sales at $2 billion.

However, this is actually a serious situation.  If specific drugs are only available through pharmacies, on the prescription of a doctor, is it safe to just buy over the internet, without any doctor’s advice?

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says, “Patients who buy prescription drugs from websites operating outside the law are at increased risk of suffering life-threatening adverse events, such as side effects from inappropriately prescribed medications, dangerous drug interactions, contaminated drugs, and impure or unknown ingredients found in unapproved drugs.”

According to WHO, drugs commonly counterfeited include antibiotics, antimalarials, hormones and steroids.  Increasingly, anticancer and antiviral drugs are also faked.  And you can add to that, the ‘blue diamonds’.  Never forget the phrase “Caveat emptor” (Let the buyer beware).

If you receive a spam e-mail from someone who you don’t know, offering you specific pharmaceuticals at a cheap price, that should be enough for you to go no further.  Get your medications on a doctor’s prescription from a pharmacy you can trust.  Or suffer the consequences.

But now you can get the Government’s Pharmaceutical cheap equivalent of Viagra, called Sidegra – but get the ‘real’ one!