It is almost impossible for the consumer to spot a falsified medicine. You can’t see it with the naked eye. It is also difficult for a professional, often to prove falsification laboratory tests are needed. Falsifiers are aware of this and pay great attention to the external appearance of the tablets and packaging. They are generally almost identical to the genuine product. A well-made falsified medicine is very difficult to recognize.
You could be risking your health with low quality, inefficient and toxic falsifications
Falsified medicines can contain anything. Paint, rat poison and cement are but a few ingredients which have been found in falsified medicines. These falsified medicines do not contain what they should contain. The active ingredient can be in a different ratio to what has been informed and they can contain poisonous ingredients. Using falsified medicines is a huge risk to your health, falsifications may even be deadly.
Buying medicines from an unauthorized source can make you a criminal
Importing medicines is a licensed business. Importing prescription drugs into Finland without a proper prescription is illegal. It is illegal to obtain and receive medicines by post from outside the EU. As a consumer, you may inadvertently commit a crime if the products you have ordered contain substances considered to be medicinal products in Finland. The licensing of medicines is to ensure consumer safety. You too can carry your own responsibility.
With the wrong choices, you could be funding organized crime
Medicines falsification is the world’s largest falsified market. All sorts of products are falsified, from inexpensive pain killers to costly cancer treatments.
Medicines falsification is a 90 billion euro industry and counterfeits make huge profits. Many of those profits are used to fund organized crime such as arms trafficking. You can decide what sort of activity you wish to support with your choices.
Where might you run into falsified medicines?
Outside of the legal distribution chain; the pharmaceutical industry, wholesalers and pharmacies, there are a lot of falsifications. As a Finnish consumer, you could receive falsified medicines from a foreign online pharmacy, as a souvenir from a holiday abroad or from a friend or acquaintance.
Illegal pharmacies are often professionally made and appear trustworthy. They will try to convince you with logos, certificates and marketing messages. On closer inspection you might notice illegal actions. A genuine online pharmacy will never sell you prescription medicine without a prescription, or discounts on genuine medicines.
You can identify a legal online pharmacy by this common EU logo
The Medicines Verification System protects the consumer
Falsifications are a rarity in the Finnish legal distribution chain. Three cases have been found in hospital pharmacies but none in pharmacies.
Despite the fact medicines safety has been at a high level in Finland, on 9.2.2019 a pan-European regulation came into force.
Under the new regulation pharmacists must scan a 2D matrix on medicine packs and check that the anti-tampering device is in place. This check takes virtually no time and requires nothing from the consumer.
Good news! You don’t really need to know what a falsified medicine looks like.
When you purchase your medicines from a licensed pharmacy or licensed online pharmacy, you can be sure that your medicine is genuine. The safety, strength and quality are guaranteed by supervision.