hose who frequently travel overseas more than likely have
purchased or will at some point have the need to purchase medication while
abroad. There are multiple reasons one might purchase drugs while traveling.
Whether due to forgetting daily prescription drugs or becoming ill while
traveling, the probability of buying drugs abroad has greatly increased, and
with it multiple risks have surfaced. Every country, and sometimes even
individual pharmacies, operates in a different manner. Due to these differing standards and protocols
one must be aware of potential hazards such as receiving the wrong, counterfeit
or even contaminated medication.
The first preventative measure to take is to refill
prescriptions before leaving on a trip and to bring extra medication in case of
sickness. This will elevate many of the problems you might otherwise face.
Sometimes, however, despite all precautions things go amiss. Lost luggage or
illnesses caught en route can quickly put you in a predicament while visiting a
General guidelines for
purchasing medications while abroad:
names vary – know the generic name to ensure receiving the right
medication. Similar sounding drugs such as “Ambien” and “Ambyen” treat
completely different health problems and could be dangerous if mistakenly
matters – make sure the medication you buy is the same dosage you are used
ingredients mean everything – double check that the active ingredients are
the same as what you have taken and in the same proportions.
are the best resource – go see a local doctor if you are unable to purchase
your medication or need a physician’s help. Also, make sure to have your
physician’s contact information on hand in case of an emergency.
Preparing beforehand alleviates many common pitfalls and
helps you avoid purchasing the wrong medication. Unfortunately, purchasing
incorrect medicine is not the only risk; counterfeit and contaminated medicines
pose just as much, if not more, of a hazard when seeking prescription drugs
Counterfeiting prescription drugs has been on the rise since
the early 2000’s and are thought to make up between 1-30% of the total medication
sold in some countries. Some may think that purchasing counterfeit pills simply
wastes money on buying fake medication, when in fact it means much more. It’s
true that counterfeit pills many times are just highly diluted versions of the true
medication making them ineffective for treatment. Often though, the ingredients
applied to stretch the counterfeit batches are actually harmful ingredients
that could lead to severe side effects or death in extreme cases. Though
without contamination and product analysis
it is impossible to be
completely sure of what you have purchased there are guidelines that you can
follow to enact your due diligence and have more confidence in your purchases. (Note: These guidelines apply to all
medication your purchases whether at home or abroad.)
Ways to check
medication for counterfeiting:
makes the product – most brands have unique packaging for marketing
purposes, verify the packaging as a first defense against counterfeit
with purpose – verify that the packaging has not been tampered with in any
way and if it has do not buy the product.
touch, and sight – your senses are some of your best defense systems
against counterfeiting. Check if the medication itself is the right shape,
color, and taste that you are accustomed to. If it seems like something is off,
it is not worth the risk.
- Source – refer
to the manufacture’s information to see if it corresponds to the manufacture listed
on your common medication.
With these pointers remember when traveling to plan ahead,
fill prescriptions before you leave, and thoroughly check any medication bought
overseas. If you believe that any medication you purchased could be counterfeit,
alert the FDA by call the Medwatch program at 1-800-332-1088
. For litigation services involving counterfeit or
contaminated medication have your legal representative contact Avomeen for
contamination analysis and other litigation services