Viagra: The World’s Most Counterfeited Drug

There’s an increasing consumer demand to buy medications online and not have to go to a store, whether for cost-savings or convenience. While reputable online pharmacies are a great resource for purchasing prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, consumers must be aware of the dangers of ordering from unregulated and often illegal websites.

One of the most counterfeited drugs is Viagra. An internet search to purchase Viagra online yields 37,500,000 results, many of which advertise “Cheapest Viagra Prescriptions Online,” and “Viagra Without Prescription.” And many of these sites advertising Viagra are unregulated and oftentimes illegal.

The Global Counterfeit Supply Chain

A report from The Centre for Safe Internet Pharmacies claims that each month 600 new illegal online pharmacies are launched, taking advantage of the ever-increasing counterfeit market that has generated a staggering $11 billion in global revenue. And in 2015, Interpol’s pharmaceutical investigation unit seized 20.7 million fake pills and other medications, a majority of which they believe to have been manufactured in China.

Ordering off of illegal websites increases the risk of receiving a counterfeit batch of Viagra and often times it’s hard to identify where these dangerous drugs have originated. What makes this even more difficult is the convoluted global supply chain these pills take before landing in the hands of consumers.

An investigation by CNN tracked the complex journey of one counterfeit Viagra operation. The pills in question were manufactured in China and then shipped to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong, the pills were sent through the free trade zone in Dubai and then delivered to the U.K. After reaching the U.K., the pills were shipped to fulfillment centers in the Bahamas where individual packets were made that would eventually be delivered to consumers. When a customer in the U.S. ordered the pills, they were sent back to the U.K. from the Bahamas and then mailed to the customer – all in an effort to make it look like the medication came from a reputable source in a trusted country.

The Potentially Life Threatening Ingredients of Counterfeit Meds

Unfortunately, many consumers are unaware of the dangerous side effects or fatal outcomes that taking unregulated drugs can cause. A misconception is that the worst possible outcome from taking counterfeit Viagra is that it won’t work. But the reality could be much more serious.

Often produced in unsanitary and substandard conditions, these drugs are commonly manufactured with harmful ingredients and fillers. Some of the more shocking ones that have been found in confiscated counterfeit Viagra have included blue printer ink, speed or amphetamines, rat poison, drywall and plaster, along with other ingredients and dyes that are used to mimic the texture and color of real Viagra.

Aside from ingesting harmful ingredients, the amount of active ingredient can dramatically vary from one batch to another. A counterfeit Viagra pill could be much more potent than advertised and lead to serious complications, such as the potential to trigger a heart attack. Given that men with erectile dysfunction are already at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, this is a very real cause for concern.

Dosage variability and incorrect labeling may also lead to accidental overdose or the risk of an adverse effects associated with a drug-to-drug interaction. The presence of unknown active ingredients or impurities may lead to undesirable and serious adverse events or even death.

It’s important that consumers educate themselves and understand the risks, but also the many benefits that purchasing medications from a legitimate online pharmacy offer. At Valisure, we just work very hard to make sure that every batch of medication is rigorously analyzed by testing samples to validate very important properties like dosage, inactive ingredients and how it dissolves. Essentially we check as much as we can to help ensure you’re consistently getting what the doctor ordered.

If you think you have had a bad medication you can report it to us, we want to hear from you.

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