Avatar universal

How to report questionable products (from the Web)


"Many of the Web sites targeted today are jeopardizing the health and safety of consumers with outlandish promises and false hope," said FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris. "Unfortunately, examples of questionable products being peddled on the Web abound, and the Federal Trade Commission, with its partners, will step up its efforts to protect consumers from these compelling, but deceptive health claims."

"Among the many products for which unfounded claims were being made were a DHEA hormonal supplement, St. John's Wort, various multi-herbal supplements, colloidal silver and a variety of electrical therapy devices. The FTC's cases were also prompted by representations by some marketers that their products are safe when, in fact, there may be potentially dangerous interactions with other medications."

15 Responses
Avatar universal

What I'd like to know is where you can report cases of prescription medicine which you think may be fake - this is a growing problem and I have just found out recently that when you take it back to the pharmacy, they are NOT INTERESTED.

So who do you contact?
Avatar universal
Good question----- I just love investigative 'stuff' and will try to find an answer for you. Or maybe someone else here will be able to answer.

First---- 'fake' in what way?  They look different? Color/shape etc.
I've used this site for when I find a pill on my floor that I dropped and can't remember what it is.


If you mean 'counterfeit' drugs---- maybe purchased on line or from a foreign pharmacy---??


However, that site just tells you to 'contact your pharmacy' and doesn't take into account that many people buy off the Internet or in a foreign country.

So that's a dead end.

IF a person DID get  it through their doc and pharmacy in their state/country----- then that's a different matter and I would have to see what resources there are for getting an answer.

The WHO/IOM report:

Some more details would be helpful but it's up to you as to whether you want to supply them or not.

Avatar universal
Oops, just saw that you're in Italy so that puts another dimension to my answers.
Avatar universal
Hi, yes, I'm living just outside Palermo.

The core business of the Sicilian Mafia is now counterfeit medications, and they have no trouble inserting them into legitimate supply lines - they just threaten the relevant person with death and he does what is needed to get legitimate paperwork.

This would explain why the local pharpacy declined to get involved. They don't want to stick their heads above the parapet and put their own lives at risk. (They firebombed a house in our village a couple of weeks ago so everyone is making extra effort to keep their heads down right now).

The reason I think it is fake is not because the packaging looks odd or anything, but because I got a very severe toxic type reaction to it: extreme abdominal pain, severe headache, nausea, watery diarrhoea.
I could be wrong about this, it could have been a strange herx reaction I suppose, but it all stopped as soon as I switched to minocycline and I have actually started to get improvement in my lyme symptoms now.

I did write an email to Pfizer Italia, as the drug was labelled as produced by them, asking if they are interested in investigating. I haven't heard back yet...

Anyway, if you can find out any place I might approach, I'd be really grateful!
Avatar universal
Name of drug, please? If you're willing.

Have to be gone for a bit. I just read up on the Sicilian Mafia! Whoosh!

"In Italy, Pfizer is present with 3 production sites: Ascoli Piceno , Latin and Pisticci ( Matera ) and 2 administrative offices: Rome and Milan . [1]"

"Pfizer Group is present in Italy since 1955 with two administrative offices in Rome and Milan, while production plants are located in Ascoli Piceno (Marche) and Pisticci in the province of Matera (Basilicata)."

If one of the production plants was/is involved----- they may not be the best places to start asking questions. :( If the Mafia is involved------

The CEO of Pfizer in the U.S. might be a place to start. I think his name is Ian Read and sometimes their emails can be found but usually are hidden under layers of underlings.

Avatar universal
I'm guessing the Pfizer guy would hand it off to minions.  Might help, might not.

Can you order you meds from out of country ... like Switzerland or Germany?
Avatar universal
Minions are there to handle things that CEO's don't want to handle. Jackie is right. :)

Her other idea is a good one. I've dealt with

---- from the U.S. and found their customer service to be good. I had very good experiences with them so I didn't go sniffing around to see if there were some black marks against them.

Several people in the Lyme community have also used them.
Just a though, thanks to Jackie.
Avatar universal

Thanks so much for this info!

The drug is Bassado, which is Pfizer's Italian name for Doxycycline.

As I had a suspicion the actual legitimate production site could be involved (would certainly not be the first time in Italy) I tried to email the US headquarters, but the US website only allows you to write to them if you can provide a US address and email.

Meanwhile I found my way to the Italian govt website on this, which asserts confidently that no drug sold in any Italian pharmacy could possibly be counterfeit. Evidently the italian govt believes crimes don't happen in italy.
So well, that's great, isn't it?

If I had definitive proof it was fake I'd march off ot the police and take out a private legal action, but I don't know how to get it analysed independently.
I cannot even find out what the real tablets are supposed to look like - should they have a serial number for example? These ones don't. Unless the manufacturer collaborates I doubt I will be able to check this.
Any idea how that could be done?
Avatar universal
Hmmm, you might to think twice before going up against a crowd like the counterfeiters.

Avatar universal
That's what I've been thinking too! Pretty dangerous people there, and if TV programs are right------ (!) how do you know the police don't have their fingers in the pie?

Back to the thing you probably CAN do, just for your own knowledge, is to find a site in Italy/Europe that will show a picture of the tablet how it SHOULD look.

I couldn't find a site comparable to the pill identifier site we have here in Italy. (Got to read some funny translations of Italian to English that Google provided, though. LOL) Maybe you can.

The word you want is 'imprint'---- if you can find a pill identifier site that number is an important one. Can;t say that a counterfeit pill might not also use that number. Sorry. :(

About your reaction to the Bassado------ I had as bad a one to a different type of doxy I once took, even though the doxy I normally took only produced a mild nausea. The site for Bassado listed the symptoms that had as ones that might be expected. Just saying.

Be careful with 'reporting' it given the prevalence of the Mafia where you are.

Avatar universal
There are criminal gangs everywhere ... Even 'The Godfather' movies spent much of their time focussed on the US, and from what I read, the Russian gangs etc. are much more active and dangerous these days.  fwiw
Avatar universal
I would not be surprised at all if counterfitters were cranking up their Doxy production lately.  Since there's been a shortage, the price spiked way up.  High prices draw all sorts of people out from under rocks.

I chuckled at your comment about the government not believing there's any crime.  Haven't I been reading stories for the last few years about rampant crime in Italian government?  Perhaps their definition of crime is quite different than some other places!  Or maybe they've spent all their prosecutorial budget trying and retrying Amanda Knox, so there isn't any left to go after drug counterfitters. ;)
Avatar universal
I wasn't able to help you before but I do tuck things in the back of my mind (grin) and I found this just today.

I don't know if this is what happened to you. (The article is about these drugs being sold in the U.S. but they may also be sold in other countries.)

I'm going to make this a new thread also, for it might impact to others who are buying drugs that originated in India from this manufacturer.

"More than 80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients for all U.S. drugs now come from overseas, as do 40% of finished pills and capsules."

"Ranbaxy sells the following generic medications in the United States, including some frequently perscribed for treatment of Lyme disease and co-infections including generic Plaquenil, Doxycycline, Minocycline"

Entire article here:

Avatar universal
Thanks for the link.
Scary stuff.
my own digging did reveal that India (along with China) is teh leading producer of fake pharmaceuticals.

I spokje to my sister too about this. She took her fake thyroid meds to various pharmacists and eventually found an Indian pharmacist who did a lot of investigating and reporting to authorities and told her stories like this happen a lot in India. He also found out that sometimes the substandard drugs are not even a result of fraud, but just poor quality control. For example, thyroid drugs have to be kept within a narrow temperature range to avoid. If they are made in India and they don't use expensive, temperature controlled transportation, for example, an originally legitimate drug will become inactive.
Avatar universal
"For example, thyroid drugs have to be kept within a narrow temperature range to avoid. If they are made in India and they don't use expensive, temperature controlled transportation, for example, an originally legitimate drug will become inactive."

Good point. I posted the warning about Ranbaxy because those drugs were found to be inferior/dangerous because of intentional fraud, according to Forbes.

But there are inadvertent ways for drugs to be 'inferior' and temperature control is one of them. And not just in India or China.
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