Estela Arco: Ensuring the Authenticity of Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

Budget 2022: 5 steps FM should take to make healthcare more accessible and  affordable | Insights | Grant Thornton BharatThe importance of ensuring the authenticity of over-the-counter (OTC) medications cannot be overstated, as counterfeit drugs can pose serious risks to one’s health. Renowned pharmaceutical expert Estela Arco provides valuable guidance on how to safeguard your health by verifying the authenticity of OTC medications through these essential steps by Estela Arco.


Purchase from Reputable Pharmaceutical Sources


Minimize the risk of encountering counterfeit medications by sourcing your OTC products from reputable and established sources. Trusted options include well-known pharmacies, reputable medical supply stores, and recognized online retailers. Be wary of unfamiliar websites, street vendors, or unlicensed sellers, especially when confronted with unusually low prices, as these could be indicators of counterfeit products.


Verify the Medication Packaging


Carefully scrutinize the packaging of any OTC medication you intend to purchase. Authentic products feature clear and legible labels containing crucial information such as active ingredients, usage directions, dosage recommendations, safety warnings, and expiration dates. Be vigilant for potential red flags that may suggest counterfeit products, such as smudged or illegible text, misaligned or poorly printed logos, tampered or broken seals, and missing batch or lot numbers.


Examine the Medication Itself Thoroughly


Before consuming any new OTC medication, conduct a meticulous inspection of the product itself. Pay close attention to its color, shape, size, and texture, comparing these attributes to other pills or capsules from the same brand. Additionally, the medication should not exhibit any unusual odors or tastes. If any discrepancies or irregularities are detected, it is advisable to consult a pharmacist or healthcare professional for guidance before usage.


Check for Standardized Markings


Certain OTC medications may feature standardized markings, such as the National Drug Code (NDC) in the United States. This 10-digit identification code, assigned by the FDA to all drug products, serves as an indicator of authenticity. Be sure to verify the presence of such markings or authenticity logos that confirm the drug’s legitimacy from a reputable source.


Research the Medication Manufacturer


Conduct a brief investigation into the background of the medication’s manufacturer to ascertain its legitimacy. Ensure that the company is a recognized and reputable entity with a documented history of compliance with regulatory standards. Official websites, documented approvals, and customer reviews and feedback can offer insights into the manufacturer’s authenticity and product quality.


Consult Your Pharmacist


Pharmacists are invaluable resources in the quest to confirm the authenticity of OTC medications. In cases of uncertainty regarding a drug’s legitimacy, reach out to a pharmacist for their expert opinion. These trained professionals can conduct thorough inspections of the medication and its packaging, leveraging their expertise and familiarity with genuine products to identify potential counterfeits.


Be Wary of Sudden Changes in Medication’s Efficacy


Vigilance is key to maintaining medication authenticity. If you notice unexpected changes in an OTC medication’s effectiveness, experience different side effects, or observe variations in the drug’s physical appearance or packaging, consider the possibility of encountering a counterfeit product. In such instances, promptly seek guidance from a healthcare professional or pharmacist to assess the medication’s legitimacy and ensure your ongoing well-being.

In conclusion, Estela Arco emphasizes the critical importance of verifying the authenticity of OTC medications to safeguard one’s health. By following these essential steps and remaining vigilant, individuals can take proactive measures to protect themselves from the risks associated with counterfeit drugs.