Vol.10: Be careful with counterfeit ED curatives

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【Be careful with counterfeit ED curatives】


Internet shopping has become an industry in excess of 4 trillion yen in Japan. It is extremely convenient as we can purchase various things with one click. However, for the purchase of prescription medicine, it also has a dangerous side, and there have been quite a few cases reported which have resulted in death from taking counterfeit medicine.
According to research report by WHO (World Health Organization), approximately half of the medicines which are illegally sold on the Internet are counterfeit and hundreds of thousands of people die from this health hazard every year worldwide. This was quite similar to the figure of 62% according to the other report about the counterfeit medicine percentage through Internet shopping which the Medicines Control Agency in the United Kingdom reported. Also, the figure of 55.4% was reported for counterfeit medicines particular to ED curatives according to the research results from the combined investigation of 4 companies – Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Beyer drug manufacturing, Eli Lilly Inc. and Nippon Shinyaku. Considering that almost half of the medicines which are imported from foreign countries outside of the standard channels-of-distribution were counterfeit, it will be too difficult to choose the ones which aren’t counterfeit for sure. Once going beyond the standard channels-of-distribution, pharmaceutical common sense in Japan (in regard to the control of safety, quality and product distribution) does not apply, and anything could be received.
There was research which investigated the ingredients which were contained in counterfeit Viagra, (Stecher VJ, Jackson G, Banks I, Arver S. Analysis of Pharmaceuticals Seized by Authorities for Suspicion of Being Counterfeit Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate). Lyon, France: European Society for Sexual Medicine, 2009). According to this, some of them contained more than twice the amount of the effective substance and the others didn’t contain it at all.
Of course, the one which didn’t contain any effective substance won’t work at all and as for the other ones which contained more than twice the upper limit quantity, it could cause serious aftereffects or strong side effects and could result in death. Also, there were some cases which were reported as having impurities and these contained items such as the corpse of a mouse and insect, technical paint, printer ink, or stimulant (the tablet which contained amphetamine was discovered in this case, because the manufacture factory was also used for illicit stimulant production). Besides this, when buying medicine on the Internet, there is a hidden risk that the disease such as diabetes and hypertension, angina are left undiscovered, as a result of not taking medical advice from a doctor. In this case, fatal paroxysm can be caused along with the side effect of ED. As for the actual case which caused death, there were several men who had developed a severe coma which was caused by hypoglycemia because they took counterfeit Cialis or oriental medicine (so-called pith pill) which contained hypoglycemic-agent “glibenclamide” in Singapore in February to May in 2008. It resulted in 40 confirmed patients, 87 suspected patients, and 7 who suffered from disturbed consciousness and 4 died. This was caused by the hypoglycemia due to intake of the hypoglycemic-agent which contained 43mg of the glibenclamide (maximum dose being 10mg per day). The risk of buying counterfeit medicines includes various issues as mentioned above. Please make sure to see a doctor if you are thinking about taking ED curatives.
Sometimes I see some websites which give information about how to distinguish the counterfeit ED curatives from the originals in detail (counterfeit Viagra, counterfeit Cialis and counterfeit Levitra). However there still is a limit of how you can manage to distinguish original ones from imitations and it’s impossible to distinguish harmful imitations completely, because the counterfeit medicine traders are rapidly making progress and take various measures not to be easily detected. So then it becomes like playing a cat-and-mouse game with the wicked counterfeit medicine traders, and getting ED patients involved in the game. For the people who can’t see a doctor for some reason and had no choice but to rely on the individual imports, it could be inevitable. But if you want to avoid health hazards, you have no choice but not to buy any ED curatives from individual imports.
For your reference, the cases in which counterfeit Viagra, Levitra and Cialis were imported into Japan via the U.S. or sent off from the address in Japan have been reported. That is why, we can’t trust these even if it is sent from a developed country or from inside Japan. Please be aware of these risks.


【Supervisor of this article】

Ken Takemori, MD. An anesthesiologist and Director of Shibuya 3rd Block Clinic.


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