Counterfeit experts warn popular prescriptions now hidden among NYC knockoff market
Experts say the Gucci bags you find on Canal Street aren’t the only counterfeits on the streets of New York City. Fake medications are available on sites like Facebook Marketplace and are being delivered to people’s doorsteps. They’re also arriving via containers – and they’re making it into the hands of drug dealers. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
Some of these dupes include Ozempic, Viagra, even chemo medications.
Ram Ben Tzion is an expert on counterfeit deliveries. He’s the founder of Publican - an artificial intelligence app that’s used by governments around the world to identify the shipments of fake goods.
“They’re coming in through the main door...you can ship it in a container to one of the local ports, or you can just use e-commerce to send a package and the problem is with 60 million containers every year and 2 million packages every day [Customs Border Patrol] doesn’t have the ability to check everything and what you end up is with substandard or fake goods – one of them is medication – making its way into every household,” Ben Tzion told News 12 New York.
Ben Tzion says fake medications are available on mainstream social media like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. He says the majority of these fakes are shipped from India or China. He says your best bet is avoid buying drugs online, but if you must.
“Do some homework. Google the name of that service provider and the words scam or fraud, or side effects to see if someone has suffered from comparable side effects before. And once you get the package, please check it’s not expired,” he said.
Ben Tzion also says you should check the label against a picture of the real product. He says taking these meds could be life-altering.
“In the worst of cases if you buy fake Cialis, or fake Viagra, fake Ozempic, it will have serious impact on your liver functions or in your blood system...we know of people who have serious conditions, it could lead to fatal conditions,” he said.
If you’re looking for cheaper medication, the FDA has a few tips. It says you can ask your doctor about generic forms of the meds, you can inquire about Medicare coverage, or you can approach the pharmaceutical company directly to see if they can offer you a discount. The FDA also says it’s important to let your doctor know if you can’t afford your medication.