Top tips

No-one knows your medicine better than you do. Simple steps may help you avoid buying counterfeit medicines.

Check the packaging:

1. Familiarise yourself with every aspect of the packaging, the blister-pack (if there is one) and the medicine itself

2. Each time you renew your prescription, compare these aspects against your previous pack. You are looking for even the tiniest difference in clarity of print, colour, seals, etc

3. Check that the medicine is in date and that the dosage is correct. Check that it has a patient information leaflet in the correct language

If you notice any differences in appearance, report them to your pharmacist and your national regulator straight away (click here) to see a list of national regulators.

Check the medicine:

1. Check carefully that it is consistent in colour and texture with your previous prescription

2. Does it crumble?

3. Does the colour differ from your normal medicine?

4. Does it smell or taste different?

Think about keeping a diary of effects/side effects. If your medicine does not seem to be working as normal or if you notice new (or absent) side effects, you must report these to your doctor.

It is important to keep up-to-date with any news coverage about counterfeit medicines. You can do this by logging on to our latest news or useful linkssection.

The chance of you receiving a counterfeit medicine is relatively small, but counterfeiting incidents are increasing at a rapid rate. By checking your medicines on a regular basis, you can reduce the risk of taking a counterfeit medicine.