Since the beginning of the year the Portuguese National Drug Authority (Infarmed) has detected 29 fraud with counterfeit drugs being sold over the internet and that may pose risk to the lives of users.
According to the agency, there are in Portugal 73 registered legal sites of prescription drugs, associated with 71 pharmacies and two drug sales points which are not subject to medical prescription.
Infarmed cannot quantify the damage caused by counterfeit drugs to the Portuguese State, but in action coordinated by Interpol in June 2015 (Operation Pangea VIII), more than 18 000 illegal drug units were detected being imported into Portugal.
In total the international operation, involving 115 countries, seized fake drugs worth approximately 72 million euros. For 2016 it is expected that medical packaging will have a QR code, an innovative barcode.
It is recommended that any prescription drugs should be purchased from a registered pharmacy and care should be taken purchasing medicines on line, to ensure that the seller is reputable.