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Fake medicines, also known as counterfeit medicines, are a global threat to health, and affects people from all walks of life, Nigerians included.

The presence of fake drugs in the market is on the rise daily and we all should be concerned. When medication is prescribed and the need for purchase arises, special care should be taken with where we buy these medicines, and the kind that we buy.

These counterfeit medicines can be very difficult to detect, as they are designed to look like genuine medications. The consequences of using fake medicines can be severe and can range from minor to life-threatening complications.

In this article, we will explore the importance of buying original medication, the potential harms fake medication can cause, and will also provide tips on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of fake medicines by identifying them.


Buying original medicines is important for many reasons, which include:

1. Good Quality
Original medicines are manufactured using specific formulations and processes in order to ensure consistent quality, effectiveness, and safety. By buying original medicine, you can be confident that you are receiving the correct dose and that the medication will work as intended.

2. Safety

Fake or substandard medicines can be dangerous, as they may not contain the correct ingredients or may be contaminated. This can result in serious health consequences and may even worsen your condition.

3. Regulation

Original medicines are subject to strict regulations by government agencies, which helps ensure their quality, safety, and efficacy. Fake or substandard medicines, on the other hand, may be produced in unregulated environments and can be difficult to trace.

4. Reliability

By purchasing original medicines from reputable sources, you can be sure that you are receiving the correct medication, dosage, and instructions. This can help you avoid confusion and potential health risks associated with incorrect medication use.


Using fake medicine can be very dangerous and may have serious health consequences. Here are some potential harms of using fake medicine:

No therapeutic effect/Impotency: Fake medicines may not contain the correct active ingredients or may contain the wrong dose of ingredients. This means they may have little to no potency, and may not treat your condition effectively.

Worsening of symptoms: Fake medicines may contain harmful substances or toxins that can worsen your symptoms or cause new symptoms to develop.

Drug interactions: Fake medicines may interact with other medications you are taking, leading to potentially harmful drug interactions, or even death.

Antibiotic resistance: Fake antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance, which means that the bacteria causing the infection may become resistant to treatment. How this happens is that due to the low potency of these medicines, more doses may need to be taken, and continuous overuse will lead to resistance (your body stops being receptive to that particular medication).

Health complications: Fake medicines may contain harmful substances that can cause long-term health complications, such as organ damage, cancer, or other serious illnesses.

It is important to only take medicine that has been prescribed by a healthcare professional or purchased from a reputable source to ensure your health and safety.


Here are some tips to help you identify original medicines when buying medication:

1. Check the Packaging

Look for packaging that is clean, clear, and free from damage. Check the manufacturer’s name, logo, and address, and look for a batch number and expiration date.

2. Check the Source

Buy your medicines from reputable pharmacies, hospitals, or health clinics. I understand that with the current economic situation in the country there, might be temptation to buy medicines from vendors who sell cheaply, but be cautious of unlicensed vendors or online sellers who may offer medicines at unusually low prices.

3. Look for Regulatory Approvals

Check for any regulatory approvals, such as NAFDAC that indicate the medicine has undergone the necessary safety testing.

Check for tamper-proof packaging: Look for seals on the packaging that indicate the medicine has not been tampered with.

Consult your healthcare provider: Your healthcare provider can advise you on the appropriate medication and dosage for your condition. They can also help you identify any potential side effects or drug interactions.

By following these guidelines, you can be more confident in identifying and purchasing original medicines that are safe, effective, and reliable.

In all, I hope we stay safe out there!

Contributed by Ms. Modesta Obianuju, RN.

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