From Business Week
People who buy prescription medications over the Internet, especially drugs purporting to treat erectile dysfunction, are playing Russian roulette with their lives, a new study contends.
At best the drugs won't help you and at worst they could kill you, the review article said.
Counterfeit Internet drugs are a mushrooming problem. Seizures of fake drugs in Europe quadrupled between 2005 and 2007. And the number of investigations undertaken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration increased by a factor of eight between 2000 and 2006, according to the study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
The sale of counterfeit drugs has almost doubled in the last five years, and will hit $75 billion in 2010, according to one estimate, making it one of the more lucrative illicit drug markets.
As many as 2.5 million men in Europe may have taken counterfeit sildenafil
(Viagra), the study authors stated.
The problem of fake drugs isn't limited to impotence treatments. According to the study, two pregnant women died after they were given injections of a counterfeit iron preparation for anemia, and 51 children died in Bangladesh of kidney failure after taking paracetamol syrup that was contaminated with diethylene glycol, which is often used as antifreeze in cars.
In 2008, four men in Singapore died after ingesting counterfeit impotence drugs that had been contaminated with a blood-sugar-lowering agent, the study reported.
And bypassing the involvement of a competent doctor means red flags could be missed.
"Erection problems can be an early warning sign of heart disease or diabetes," Jackson said. "If you do have a problem and don't see a doctor, diagnosis of those important conditions can be missed. Men with no symptoms at all who get an erection problem usually are an average of three to five years away from a heart attack. Instead of going to the Internet, they should be going to their doctors to find out if they are at risk and to do something about it.