LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Counterfeit drugs are a growing industry affecting patients around the world. Consumers may not realize that they are buying and consuming drugs made to look real.
Customers looking to save money end up getting the goods through untrustworthy websites. Similar to the fake drugs carefully crafted to look real, the websites can be just as misleading and seductive.
Some very popular prescription drugs are available on today’s market -- half sold legitimately by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer; the other half created and sold by foreign crooks who have become experts in imitation drug manufacturing.
Brian Donnelly is a former FBI investigator who now works as Pfizer’s top anti-counterfeiting experts.
Donnelly says they've confiscated drugs from underground labs housed in garages or warehouses overseas. Video from raided labs shows the conditions in illegal labs in Latin America; compare that to what you find in the U.S. The real drug makers are often shocked to see what the crooks can put together.
Dr. Evon Moore, who works in the emergency room at UMC, says falling for the cheap price of a fake medication can have very real consequences.
“Some of these medications, not monitored, not approved by the FDA and could lead to seizures, coma and even death,” Moore said.
He says consumers shouldn't try to be a drug detective like Donnelly. The only way to guarantee safety is to get the drugs from trusted sources, including your doctor.