Americans are using imported, counterfeit prescription drugs that are actually working against them.
These false prescribed medications cause the diseases to become stronger and people to become immune to the medicine Joel Breman in a National Public Radio (NPR) interview.
The most commonly made counterfeit drugs include are cancer medication, pain killers cardiovascular, antibiotics and psychiatric medicine, according to safemedicines.org
“If the companies and organizations have strict guidelines, I don’t think it should be a problem to import medications from other countries,” said student Jamie Williams.
China and India are known for most cases of counterfeit medicinal drugs, according to npr.org.
“Counterfeit medicine is fake medicine. It may be contaminated or contain the wrong or no active ingredient.
They could have the right active ingredient but at the wrong dose. Counterfeit drugs are illegal and may be harmful to your health,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We need [a] stiffer legal system to figure out where it’s coming from. Also get references on where it comes from and what it looks like so people will be informed on what is out there,” said student Quintos Cerrillo.
“Many people get these counterfeit prescription drugs because they are more affordable than the drug prescribed by the doctor,” stated Breman.
“I don’t like it but I understand it. The pharmaceutical company is a business and patients are charged a co-pay for $140 medication when it only costs $50 under a different name,” said Professor Anna Wilson.
“People have resorted to leaving the country because the prescription medication is cheaper in other countries,” said professor Dr. Geraldine Fike.
“I’ve seen it personally where people have been on life support because they’ve taken these medications from outside the country,” said Wilson.
The FDA, America’s department of health and human services, regulates drug quality in the United States.
“While U.S. drug supplies are generally considered safe, incidents of counterfeit drugs have been increasing.
In the 1990s, the FDA investigated an average of five cases a year; there have been more than 20 investigations per year since 2000,” according to fraud.org.
Counterfeiters have figured out, through technology, how to introduce these fraudulent prescription drugs in clever ways according to npr.org
“It’s frustrating. I feel bad for patients they have to go to Mexico or order medication on the Internet and I often have to figure out what medicine they’ve taken if they come to the hospital,” said Fike.
“If you are giving substandard doses with just a little bit of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, then the disease-resistant organisms will [survive]. When there’s no [active ingredient at all], people think you’re not really promoting mutations. But if you take a patient in the hospital infected with a superbug, and you give them a blank with nothing in it, other patients in the hospital become susceptible,” according to NPR.
“That doesn’t sound good because as med students we are trying to help our patients and that sounds outrageous,” said student Kimberly Sharpless.
Often nurses can provide free samples of medication before you purchase the prescription.
Websites like caringvoices.com offer assistance for medication, such as coupons, discounts, or even free medication.