You May Have Counterfeit Drugs Instead of the Real Deal

Robin Johnson, Kings Compounding Pharmacy
Robin Johnson, Kings Compounding Pharmacy

It's a 40 billion dollar a year business.. Making and selling counterfeit drugs.. And scammers are putting your health at risk.

The bar code on the original bottle.. Sometimes it is the only thing to alert that the pills are not authentic... But consumers don't see those codes.

Robin Johnson with Kings Compounding Pharmacy says, "You can hardly tell at all by looking at the tablets or capsules themselves, it's the packaging, and if you didn't know what to look for you would not know."

Not knowing could mean potential health problems.

"The ingredients that could be in a counterfeit drug could be just not enough of the active ingredient, or it could be something else completely. You don't have any idea what is in that or not in that." Johnson says.

Johnson also attributes it to technology and trying to find a cheap deal.

"Before we had access to medication from Canada and Mexico and before we had internet sales, counterfeit cases were negligetable. That leads me to believe  that is the source of counterfeit drugs getting into the United States."

Local pharmacies are combating the problem by ensuring their suppliers are legit.

Officials say the easiest way to make sure your prescriptions are valid is know who's hands you are putting your health in to.

"A good way to assure you do not get counterfeit drugs is to know your pharmacist and know that they buy from credible sources." Johnson says.

It's not just consumers being taken for a ride.. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer estimates they lose two billion dollars every year in counterfeit drug purchases.