Why should you be concerned with supply chain integrity?
Before making the decision to import medication from either China, Bangladesh or India you should give due consideration to supply chain integrity, or in English how can you be certain the medication you have ordered and paid for is indeed what you need?
Hepatitis C medications are especially inviting for online scammers due to the incredibly high price tag of the original medications (Harvoni treatment in the US, for example, costs $94,000). Before buying any medications over the Internet, it is important to check out the people with whom you are dealing.
How can I check out an online drug supplier?
Using Google to check out a company is free and fast. For example if you type in "fixhepc scam" you won't find any complaints and http://www.scamadviser.com/is-fixhepc.com-a-fake-site.html (which turns up on the first page) currently gives this site a 69% trust rating.
Check the API manufacturer
Supply chain should start with buying of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) by drug producer - such as sofosbuvir and ledipasvir in the case of Hepatitis C medications. Make sure that the API that went into the drugs you're purchasing was made by a reputable company. Such information is sometimes difficult to find; try checking the websites of online drug suppliers, which API manufacturer they have a partnership with and look into the manufacturer in detail - are they regularly regulated by national authorities, were there any scandals in the past (you can use Google to find out such news), are they considered a respectable and credible API manufacturer?
Check the drug manufacturer
It is not uncommon that an online drug supplier is not the same company as the drug producer. Namely, drug producer creates the drugs and usually markets and sells them itself. For example, Pfizer who produces Viagra sells Viagra but their selling channels is what one might consider regular channel - via prescription by a doctor only and you can buy it at your local pharmacy.
Online drug suppliers are using a different route for sales - online selling which in comparison is way less regulated and it's on buyers (patients) themselves to correctly judge the credibility of the seller. However, from the seller's website it has to be evident which company produced the actual drugs. If a reputable company such as Pfizer, GSK, Novartis and so on is the producer, then you can at least be partly confident about the integrity of the medicines. If, on the other hand, the drug producer is a company of questionable reputability, you are advised to take care when buying. Without the ability to analyse and control the drugs you buy, you are an easy target for an online drug scam.
Check Drug Supplier/Seller
Obviously checking the online supplier you're about to send your money to is of paramount importance. You can gather pretty much any information on their website but always be aware that the their information was written by the company itself and might not be credible. One great method for checking the integrity of an online drug supplier is to find objective reviews of the company. In short, if they are a credible drug supplier, there are bound to be people who are satisfied with their service who will make their opinion known online. If you can't find testimonials about the quality of service by some customers, it might mean that the company is only starting to build a reputation or it is a plain out-and-out scam.
Taking Viagra as an example, an article from Forbes suggests Up To 77 Percent Of Viagra Bought Online May Be Fake, And Possibly Dangerous, Research Shows. When you consider that Hepatitis C medications are over 10 times as expensive you can guess that the financial incentives to sell fakes are at least 10 times more. If it's not happening already it will be soon.
Testing the drugs - A Vital Step
Here is a scenario: A Hepatitis C patient with a need for medication orders sofosbuvir-based regimen from an online drug supplier. The payment goes through and after two weeks he gets sofosbuvir pills mail delivered to his doorstep for a fraction of the cost. Pills are white and seem authentic. After 12 weeks of taking the medications his blood test shows that there are no signs of Hepatitis C being cured; what is more, virus load is even higher and the liver damage is progressing as before.
This is a perfectly pleasurable scenario. A patient bought the pills, the notice on the box said 'sofosbuvir 400mg' and the pills were pill-like. As a result, he lost 3 months of time, his liver is worse and the emotional toll of thinking that even the wonder drug regimen is not going to help him is devastating. Such a patient might even tell his doctor that the new sofosbuvir-based regimen doesn't work for him and refuse further treatment.
Here is a fact - no one can judge if the pills contain what it says they should contain just by looking at them. No doctor or pharmacist can assure the integrity of the medicines before testing them with pharmaceutical analytical techniques first. Without testing you are placing your trust in every person who has handled the product in the supply chain between the manufacturing plant and you.
At FixHepC Buyers Club we are fully aware of the importance of testing the drugs. We have analysed sofosbuvir, ledipasvir, daclatasvir and ribavirin medicines we procure with a state of the art NMR analytical techniques and found they contain exactly what it says on the label. However, in order to ensure our patients get credible medications, we provide analytical testing of every medicine we provide. In such a way, we and our patients can truly be confident about the integrity of the medicines we're dealing with.
While it is convenient to source medication that is already encapsulated in tablet or capsule form, this can make testing difficult because they do not contain a single pure substance suitable for such testing.
Supply chain integrity of Hepatitis C drugs bought online
If you're an optimist, you might think it won't happen. If you're a pessimist, you'll read Factory making fake Hepatitis C drug raided and be armed with the knowledge that not only is it inevitable, but it is also already happening. The problem will only get worse with time.
Please give this issue very careful consideration and see how imported medication can be compared to a reference standard.