Beware of Counterfeits

Recognizing Fakes

Dubious online pharmacies have nearly all products of renowned pharmaceutical companies in their sight. Bayer is also affected through its drug prescribed on the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. Counterfeits can be found anywhere in the world, including in Europe or the USA. They are mostly sold through illegal online pharmacies. But there is also clear evidence that they can be found in red-light districts, discos, and gyms.

A new development on the illegal market is selling supposed generic versions of active ingredients like vardenafil. These products usually do not contain the substances promised by the vendor, and often they cannot keep up to original quality standards. Also, many supposed “natural products” are being sold.

Please remember: Even if an illegal medication against erectile dysfunction does seem to work, you never know what other substances you are taking at the same time and thus what risks and side-effects they may cause.

How Do I Protect Myself from Counterfeits?

Patients are not completely defenseless against counterfeited drugs. You can protect yourself by considering dubious offers critically. The most important question is: Can I trust the vendor?

Usually, medications are handed out in pharmacies. Some are only available against prescription. You can find out which medication is prescription-free by looking at the package or asking your pharmacist directly. The pharmacy is therefore the most important place of trust.

If a private person offers you medications, you should not only decline the offer but also immediately contact police authorities.

Example: Drugs against Erectile Dysfunction

In many cases, fake drugs against erectile dysfunction are sold at a much higher price than the original product. It is thus very important to trust only legal traders – any person deliberately infringing pharmaceutical legislation is only interested in the profit, and not in the safety and quality of medicines.

  • In most cases, products which are only available on prescription are illegal and/or counterfeited if the vendor sells them without asking for a prescription.
  • It is also illegal to sell medication without the full packaging, i.e. a folded box, blister, and package leaflet. Illegal online pharmacies often sell counterfeited tablets without original packaging. These tablets are made to resemble the original product very closely.

Beware of Counterfeits on the Internet and Travels

Besides of legal and trusted internet pharmacies, there are just as many dubious sellers out there offering counterfeited products. It may be difficult to distinguish between the original and counterfeited product as well as between a legal and illegal internet pharmacy. Also even if they promise medical advice and the tablets or packaging actually look no different from the original, there is no guarantee that you really have the original! Original products by Bayer Pharmaceuticals have special security features enabling the authentication of the original product. Read more about these features and the possibility to protect yourself against counterfeits under the chapter “Download material”.

More information and an overview about legal and certified online pharmacies are available, e.g. on the website When purchasing medication abroad, you first need to verify the integrity of the trader. Therefore it is recommended to speak with your physician or pharmacist at home and put your personal “first-aid kit” together before going abroad.

Should suspicious medication ever fall in your hands, please consult your physician or pharmacist. This holds especially true if you have taken it and noticed other effects than those you are used to, or if the packaging does not seem orderly.

The European Commission has developed a verification logo to prevent the dangerous fakes from being sold in Europe. Only certified online pharmacies are allowed to display the new logo – a white cross on green-and-gray background – on their home pages. A click on the logo takes consumers to the website of the responsible authority in their country, where they find a list of all certified drug distributors. Consumers can be confident that vendors with the verification logo only sell original brands.

More information about the verification logo can be found in this article.

European Parallel Imports

Please note that in certain cases, so-called parallel imports may occur. In the EU, importers have the possibility to exchange original packaging of medications imported from another country of the European Union with their own version or to put labels on them to suit the country’s language. In any case, if the packaging was rightfully changed, the company that was in charge of re-packaging has to be clearly stated. Your pharmacist can provide you with more information.

Since every country has different laws regarding reimporting or parallel importing of medicines, please check the websites of your national health ministries for more information.