Drugs falsification: no benefits, serious risks
26 July 2021
About Pharma and Corriere Salute resume the Webinar presented by IBSA
Following the webinar on drug falsification, held on 23 July, with the unconditional support of IBSA, two articles were published respectively in Corriere Salute and on the AboutPharma portal relating to the counterfeiting of drugs, both brands and equivalents.
The dangers for users
In recent months, AIFA has seen an increase in reports of products purchased from unauthorized online sources, which have later turned out to be false or illegal. According to recent data, it has emerged that the growing trend of buying online can hide deceptions and dangers, especially when it comes to counterfeit drugs. The latter, in fact, are never equivalent in quality, safety and efficacy to their original counterparts, indeed, they can cause serious side effects or have no therapeutic efficacy; this happens because they contain active ingredients or dosages different from those declared or even substances or excipients that are toxic to health.
The numbers in Italy
Over 80% of counterfeit drugs concern the endocrinological-andrological sphere and those for erectile dysfunction are at the top of the list. In fact, the main categories of drugs involved are sexual performer enhancers along with anabolic steroids, hormone modulators and stimulants. This is because the use of these types of drugs is subject to socio-psychological discomfort, so users decide to buy independently from non-certified channels. Young people are also included in the statistics of the phenomenon because they are the users with more difficulty in dealing with problems related to the sphere of sexuality and talking about it with their doctor, preferring to make online purchases of dubious origin at risk of counterfeiting.
Countering the phenomenon: the birth of ODF technology
The orodispersible film is an innovative dosage form that could put a stop to the phenomenon of falsification, protecting patients from scams and safeguarding their health. In fact, ODF technology, in order to be produced, requires little widespread know-how and high-tech systems, which make cloning complex.
Patients have an advantage in the way it is taken, it dissolves in the mouth without water, the pack in single doses is convenient, practical and discreet.
The role of doctors and pharmacists is however fundamental to dissuade patients from online purchases, especially since half of the Italians who look for medical information on the web are not sure of the truthfulness of the sources and may run into fake news or incorrect medical indications. Training, even for doctors and pharmacists, plays a very important role in countering the phenomenon of counterfeiting.