Spot Fake Drugs

How to Spot Fake Oxycocet

Oxycocet, manufactured by TEVA Canada is a combination product that contains oxycodone and acetaminophen. Acetaminophen belongs to the group of medications called analgesics (pain relievers) and antipyretics (fever reducers). Oxycodone belongs to the group of medications called narcotic analgesics. Oxycodone – acetaminophen is used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain, including conditions associated with fever.

Oxycocet is classified as a Schedule II substance by the Federal Drug Administration due to its highly addictive nature and its high potential for overdose. Like other opioids, Oxycocet triggers the brain’s reward center, which can make people seek the drug to experience euphoric effects. Someone struggling with Oxycocet or another opioid use may start showing signs of addiction. Many signs reflect attitude and behavior and are common to multiple substances. 

Recently, police in Ontario shut down a huge counterfeiting operation responsible for manufacturing hundreds of thousands of fentanyl pills disguised as Oxycocet, a Health Canada-approved generic oxycodone and acetaminophen product with the same ingredients as Percocet. The effort, which was dubbed Project Javelin, began as an investigation into suspected methamphetamine labs. It concluded at the end of May with arrests and the largest fentanyl seizure Ontario has seen to date—123,700 fentanyl pills, 70 kilograms of fentanyl powder (enough for as many as 35 million two milligram pills), industrial pill presses and other commercial equipment, 700 pharmacy-sized pill bottles, and a roll of forged painkiller labels. Unfortunately, these killer Oxycocet pills have surfaced in some parts of  United States.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Drug traffickers usually transport counterfeit fentanyl laced Oxycocet pills in plastic bags.  The counterfeits look legitimate. The one clear discrepancy is that the company only sells Oxycocet in 100 and 500-pill bottles—something that an average person would be unlikely to check before buying.

How to Spot Fake Oxycocet

In their latest report on fake online pharmacies that ply their trade in the United States, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) found more than 1,500 new websites that it considers “Not Recommended,” and of these, 31% are offering illicit prescription drugs. Studies have shown that, poor quality medicines represent a global threat to the public health that can result in treatment ineffectiveness, drug resistance, increased morbidity and mortality rate, economic loss and problems to the healthcare system.

As a consumer, you may not have access to most of the test equipment used by regulatory bodies to verify the identity of a drug product. The following tips will serve as a guide to purchasing genuine Oxycocet pills and help you avoid fakes;

Visual inspection

Visual inspection as stated by the World Health Organization (WHO) (1999) still remains the first step in identifying potential fake drug irrespective of the analytical methods used. This is because such observation serves as a lead to identifying fake products even in the absence of the knowledge of the physical characteristics of a genuine drug product. You are expected to examine carefully both the package and its content before purchase or use.

Visual inspection of the Package

You should:

  • Examine the package and check if it appears suspicious or different from what you previously know.
  • Check if the security seal has been tampered with by looking for breaks or tears in the sealing tape and seals.
  • Look for unusual fonts, font sizes, print color, and spelling errors.

Visual inspection of the Dosage form

At this stage, you are meant to check for differences in the physical appearance (color uniformity, size, shape, consistency etc.) of the drug. As stated by WHO, commonly encountered physical defects that should be looked out for in tablets include:

  • Excessive powder and/or pieces of tablets at the bottom of the container (from abraded, crushed or broken tablets);
  • Cracks or chips in the tablets, swelling, mottling, discoloration, fusion of tablets;
  • Appearance of crystal on the walls of the container or on the tablet.

Source

The source of the drug also determines if you are buying a fake Oxycocet pill or not. Buying Street Oxycocet pill exposes you to a lot of risk. Filling your prescription in a reputable pharmacy greatly reduces your chances of buying fake drugs while buying from illiterate and unqualified vendors who hawk drugs in buses, motor parks and in the streets increases your chances of buying fake drugs.

Price

This is another way of identifying fake Oxycocet pill. If the price is far cheaper than what is expected, then you have to think twice. However, this may not always be true especially for some products (fake innovator/generic brands) which may be sold at the same price as the genuine one.

Unexpected side effect

Counterfeit Oxycocet pill most of the time contains substances other than the appropriate Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API). They may contain incorrect substances, improper dosage or hazardous substances like fentanyl which produce unusual side effects, worsening medical condition after taking it. The medication should be stopped once any of the above is noticed.

Fentanyl Test

Fentanyl testing is one of the most reliable ways of telling a fake from a real Oxycocet pill. A new University of Maryland study found fentanyl tops the list of drugs detected in overdose patients at two Baltimore hospital emergency departments. The finding suggests that hospitals and medical systems throughout the United States consider adding fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid linked to most fatal overdoses in Maryland, to their routine drug testing panels. That is the conclusion of researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Currently, fentanyl is not routinely included in these panels nationwide. The procedure described below can help law enforcement agents and public health officials to pick out fentanyl laced powders and pills.

Steps

  • Crush pill or pour powder into a clean bowl or test tube
  • Add ¼ inch of clean water to the powder in the tube or bowl and mix properly
  • Dip the end of the test strip into the residue for 15 seconds, remove, and lay on a clean flat surface

NOTE: If the strip does not either have one or two lines, the test is invalid.

According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, consumers who purchase medications online should avoid the following: sites that are located outside of the U.S. that do not indicate any physical address; sites that do not have a license by the relevant State Boards of Pharmacy; sites without a licensed pharmacist to answer questions; and websites that do not require a prescription.

Consumers who wish to purchase drugs over the Internet should look for websites that have the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites seal. These sites, which are created by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, are licensed pharmacies selling FDA-approved medications to discourage the sale of counterfeit drugs from illegitimate online sources.

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