While our recent post covered the large amounts of counterfeit condoms that are being made and exported from China, it does not end there. Many forms of birth control are counterfeited and sold. These can be very dangerous. From not protecting you from HIV and other things, to becoming pregnant when you did not plan too.
However, not all counterfeited birth control products are made in China. Many of the pills found in South America were made there. Almost all the pills that were suspected of being fake failed to have the right amount of the active ingredient in tests. This would result in a failed dosage and would have no effect on the body as you had intended when taking the pills.
Not only that, but these pills were found being sold from pharmacies and other ‘trusted’ wholesalers.
Batches of counterfeit birth control pills in Peru have been found to perform at substandard level or not perform actively at all, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology reported. The fake contraceptives, which mimic the packaging, appearance, and chemical makeup of patented names, either contained the wrong active ingredient, not enough of the active ingredient, or no active ingredient. The findings create a large concern for women in South America who purchase and use the birth control pills, most especially since the drugs in the study were purchased from pharmacies and distributors around Lima where people can access them.
“A woman who does not want to get pregnant and takes these emergency contraceptives will get pregnant,” Georgia Tech researcher Facundo M. Fernandez said in a press release. “You really want to catch these fakes early, at the custom level or at the distribution center level. You don’t want to wait for this to get to the pharmacy or for somebody to report it.”
Since the pills were counterfeit, they could not be made to the same quality. Even though the makers did their best to hide these flaws and make the products look as real as possible, the methods to find out if they are counterfeit are very powerful.
The team identified the counterfeit drugs using a fast and efficient approach called mass spectrometry. After identifying problematic pills with a first screening, the researchers look at the chemical makeup of the suspected counterfeit drugs. During mass spectrometry, the researchers can find out three key things: whether or not the active ingredient is present, whether the drug contains the right amount of the active ingredient, and whether the pill dissolves properly in order to release enough of that active ingredient into the body.
To identify a deficient drug, researchers also look deep into the pill at its “fillers,” or its elements besides the active ingredients. According to Fernandez, this is because the most “sophisticated” fake drugs may pass all the initial tests for active ingredients but contain the wrong fillers, rendering the drug ineffective.
I would say if you wanted to avoid counterfeits, the best thing to do is to buy from a trust source. But this shows that even a trusted source can be selling counterfeit products. Whether intentionally, or on accident.