Living in the Philippines, most prescription drugs can be obtain without a prescription from the doctor.  There are exceptions.  Controlled drugs require a prescription and every now and then we run into something else the pharmacist won’t provide without a prescription from a doctor.

medical symbolThe bad news is that the Department of Health (DOH) released a report indicating that more than 10% of the prescription drugs sold in the Philippines are fake!

The report went on to say that the number is not really known.  This number was derived from test performed on medications that were reported to DOH for testing.  I’ve seen numbers as high as 25%.

The DOH recommends that one should only purchase prescription medications from a Food and Drugs Administration-listed pharmacy.

The DOH reports that fake drugs are manufactured both inside the country and imported into the Philippines.   Countries such as China, India, Pakistan are the largest exporters of fake drugs into the Philippines.

I read an article a few months ago of a bust in Cebu Province where these products were being made.

Some indications of fake drugs are:

  • Unusually low price of the medication.
  • Different packaging of the medication from what you usually see.
  • The color of the medication is different than what it usually is.  Paracetamol Acid (a pain killer) is said to be of a lighter color when it is fake.

The locals also tell me to buy only from the large chains.   Rose Pharmacy and Mercury Drugs are the two places were we usually buy medications.  Jessie usually gets my Xanax from the hospital where we get the prescription.

I think you can improve your odds from buying from those locations but even they can’t know all the hands a medication passed through before it made it to their shelfs.

A few months back, I ran out of an anti-depressant and suddenly didn’t have it.  Stopping this medication causes “withdrawal syndrome” and I’ve experienced it before.  While I had significant issues from stopping it suddenly, they were not nearly as bad as they should have been.

I started smoking to deal with it, maybe that helped more than I realized but I remain convinced that what I was taking was not full strength.  The effects of the sudden stoppage were much less than what I had experienced before.

Jessie and my doctor don’t seem to believe me but I believe me. 🙂  I was ready to be locked up while I endured the trauma I had known after missing two days of the medication.   It wasn’t nearly as bad this time.

I didn’t get back on Effexor but I’m considering it.  It calms me down and I need to do whatever it takes to stop smoking these cigarettes.  Perhaps I should just suffer through that too.  I was able to quit before but since I’ve been off Effexor, I’ve had no luck at all.

Fake drugs are found in every country.  It isn’t just the Philippines that has this problem.  However, the problem seems to be more prevalent in the Philippines than the USA.

This is another of the problems presented to those of us living in the Philippines.  Reduce your exposure by buying from large pharmacy chains.   I don’t know if you can escape it completely though.  After my experience with Effexor, I don’t think you can.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Living In The PhilippinesPhilippine Health

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!