Counterfeit medicine is intentionally and fraudulently labeled with the incorrect drug name and source. The main reason is to commit pharmaceutical fraud by selling a product at a higher price than it’s worth. Counterfeit medicine has different ways of affecting consumers, manufacturers and retailers in California.
The dangers of counterfeit medicine
Counterfeit pharmaceutical products are mislabeled and contain the wrong ingredients for the prescribed patient. Some products are remanufactured with ingredients that become inactive or contain no active ingredient at all. Other medications have the right ingredients in amounts that are too low to be effective.
Incorrect or insufficient medications are hazardous to a patient’s health. The results are adverse side effects that may lead to hospitalizations, chronic illnesses or death. Falsified medication that is consumed to improve one’s health will only become more harmful and cost more to recover from.
The legal consequences of counterfeit business
Pharmaceutical fraud is committed by manufacturers, marketers, retailers and consumers of prescription drugs. The False Claims Act exists to recover the losses of health care fraud that amount to billions of dollars every year.
Civil and criminal penalties exist for health care fraud. A conviction for the manufacture and sale of counterfeit drugs could lead to three to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000 or more depending on the severity of the offense.
Protecting the pharmaceutical industry
Taking the wrong medication leads to all kinds of adverse side effects and allergic reactions. Extreme cases cause hospitalizations or long-term illnesses that cost 10 times more than the medicine. Overall, there are serious risks to patients who unknowingly consume counterfeit medicine and could suffer harm.