If you are a drugstore owner or a drug distributor and you are thinking of buying unregistered imported or sample medicines, think again. Instead, of making money twice as you would expect, you could be wasting it and worst, you could be harming your customers health.
Normally, a medicine is marked up to ten to twenty percent for its selling price. Some really small interests, that certain drug owners and dealers are tempted in purchasing illegal drugs such as unregistered imported and sample medicines. These types can be bargained for half of their prices and even cheaper. More invitingly, sample and unregistered imported medicines include the most trusted brands from multinational drug companies, a real guarantee for higher profit.
But, know this, as promising as it may seem, you could be purchasing counterfeit drugs.
Counterfeit drugs are defined differently in different countries. But generally, they can be referred to as, ‘pharmaceutical substances without the desired value’. A counterfeit medicine may not have the exact amount of active ingredient; or the wrong ingredient; or worse still, have no active ingredient. In the Philippines, physician samples and imported medicines are considered as counterfeit or fake drugs.
Unusual Packaging and Presentation
If you purchased an imported medicine directly from a legal dealer in a foreign country, you can be sure of its efficacy. But, selling it would be illegal. Generally, imported drugs should be registered in a country’s local drug authority as a standard procedure.
If you would buy from an illegal drug trader, you wouldn’t know where the drug came from therefore you wouldn’t also know if it’s the authentic thing or not. Unregistered medicine has different packaging and appearance, not the same as the registered imported. Although fake medicine can also imitate local or registered imported, counterfeiters copy unregistered imported drugs the most, since they can be sold cheaper than the registered imported. Customers may be unfamiliar with these unregistered imported but they would tend to rely on their doctor or their trusted Pharmacies.
Spray-paint and Marker Erasure
As a rule, it is illegal to sell physician samples. Medical representatives from various drug companies provide doctors medicine samples for the purpose of introducing and familiarizing them to their product. From the physician, these samples may be given to his patient as starter doses. While, most doctors keep these sample medicines for reference, some sell them to their patients.
There is nothing wrong in utilizing sample medicines. A problem could arise though, if a patient would accidentally take some really expired sample drug. And an expired medicine without its effect is considered as counterfeit.
In bottle containers, the words ‘Physician Sample’ are blade-scraped or erased by using a marker. In foils and blister packs, the initials PS or the words ‘Physician Sample’ are also tampered. In doing this, the expiration date is removed.
Of course, besides some un-ethical doctors or some medical representatives, there are dealers of sample medicines. These drugs are usually in tablet and capsule forms, packed in plastic pouches or bags. Whether the tablets or capsules are already in pieces or in their whole blister form, the expiration date is often spray-painted or marker-erased along with the lot number and the words Physician Sample. There is an indicated expiration and batch numbers. But one may wonder, are they really from the same batch? Chances are you may find out that some of the tablets have color variations and already having that acidic smell- some serious hints of expiration.
The Bitter Truth
Illegal drug dealers usually disappear. You may never have the chance to return your goods as soon as you find out the defects. You definitely can go to jail. And once busted of selling counterfeit medicines, you will lose your customers along with your credibility.
Stick with legal matters. Keep your conscience clean. Remember your customers deserve the best medication. Their health and life depend on it.
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