Tag Archives: Pharmacy

Counterfeit Drugs a problem in Indonesia

fake drugsPhoto courtesy:  Victor Habbick,

I am sometimes asked about the huge price difference of drugs between Indonesia and Singapore. Rent, labor, the strong Singapore dollar, and differential pricing are all factors. However, there is one very important factor – fake or counterfeit drugs. Counterfeit drugs have become a huge problem in Indonesia. The pharmacies used to buy drugs from “independent medication sellers”, but are now buying them simply online.

I had come across instances when I simply switched medication from overseas to Singapore ones, and saw huge differences in the effect of lowering blood pressure and blood sugar. I can only surmise that the “strengths” of the medications are different.

Part of the problem reported was that the pharmacies find it difficult to differentiate between genuine and fake medication. I totally agree. There is no way for even pharmacists and doctors like us to differentiate between the fake and real thing, since boxes, logoes can all be faked. The only way to ensure that the drugs are genuine is to buy direct from the Big Pharmaceutical Companies themselves.

Pharmacists and doctors must realize that fake drugs may not contain any active ingredients, and can also contain harmful ingredients. They must make a stand to sell the real thing to their patients. Patients must also buy medication from registered pharmacies and not from dodgy ones.

Fake Drugs in Bangladesh


Image courtesy of Baitong333 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A lot of Bangladeshi patients come to Singapore for medical treatment. Recently, I have noticed more patients asking to buy medication from Singapore as well. A check on the news show that selling medication that is counterfeit and expired is common in Bangladesh, and the government is finally doing something about it.

The pharmacists are fighting back. They are staging a strike, closing down all the pharmacies in Dhaka. The poor patients are the ones who suffer.

Eventually they will have to open again. Pharmacists have great responsibilities and they should uphold the highest standards in dispensing medication. Counterfeit medication is extremely dangerous and can cause patients to suffer side effects or even lose their lives.

I applaud the Bangladeshi government to take this first step to protect the patients. I am also glad that in Singapore, we can buy medication from any doctor’s office or pharmacy and be sure that the medication is genuine.