What Do Fake Viagra Pills Look Like?

With a constant war against counterfeit products, the rise in knock-offs can pose great dangers for the average consumer especially in the world of health. Find out how you can distinguish real from fake Viagra pills and learn about its dangers.

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What Do Fake And Real Viagra Pills Look Like

The counterfeit drug market is always finding ways to mimic the real deal. 


Look at this picture. Are you able to tell the difference?

(Image Courtesy of Bloomberg)

Scary isn’t it? These pills look dangerously alike, and many would think that the more ‘defined’ looking pill on the left is real. 


But it’s actually the other way around. The left pill is fake, while the right is the real deal. 


From the picture, its clear the differences are almost indistinguishable to the average consumer. 


That’s why we want to help you differentiate the legitimate from its bogus counterpart. Here are some key characteristics to distinguish real Viagra from the fake. 


1. Colour consistency

Real Viagra has a homogenous colour. That means that it should not have any variation in colour within the same tablet or with other tablets in the same packet. 


Real Viagra is always recognizable by its light blue tint. The distinctive blue not only differentiates it from other types of medications but makes it difficult to replicate by illegal manufacturers as well. 


If your tablet has one face darker than the other, it’s probably fake.

2. The “f” In Pfizer

(Image Courtesy of PublicHealth) 


The design of the “f” in Pfizer is distinctive, unique, and extremely difficult to replicate using outside pill presses.  


Most illegal manufacturers aren’t able to replicate it, causing the ‘f’ to start thinning early on out at the bottom.


Real Viagra doesn’t thin out until near the top of the letter and has a deep indentation near the bottom, as seen from the arrow.


In addition, the back of the Viagra pill is also engraved with the text “VGR”, which is accompanied by the strength of the tablet. 


If it’s missing, the tablet is clearly counterfeit. 


If not, examine the ‘G’. 


The tail end on real Viagra tablets has a short ‘G’, while fake ones typically extend and protrude further. 


3. Strength Of tablets

Viagra only comes in standard doses of 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg. These doses are stated in numbers on the back of the pill. 


4. Number Of Tablets

Regardless of its strength in dosage (25mg, 50mg, 100mg), Viagra only comes in packets of 4 tablets. 


If your packet contains more than 4 tablets, it is more than likely that it is counterfeit. 


Any other strengths that deviate from the aforementioned doses are a sure-fire way of determining whether it is fake. 


5. Tablet Shape

Real Viagra is always blue and has a distinct diamond shape with smooth edges. Its shape is longer in length than height. 


Fake ones are sometimes jagged with indents before the edge. 


6. Missing Patient Information Leaflet

Pfizer always provides a Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) in every box of Viagra. 


The PIL informs the consumer on how to use the product safely. 


Viagra boxes that do not contain the PIL are usually fake. 


7. Clear Expiration Date

Pfizer always includes an easy-to-read expiration date on the box. Any package without it or with a poorly printed expiration date is undoubtedly fake. 

How To Avoid Fake Viagra 

Each day, illegal manufacturers are always on the horizon of finding more innovative loopholes to exploit. 


As a general rule of thumb, it is important that patients get Viagra prescribed to them by a doctor. 


Patients will need to go through a thorough health check-up by a medical professional, as Viagra might be dangerous to those with underlying health conditions such as heart or liver problems. 


If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, it is recommended that you consult a doctor. 


At Noah, we want to keep you safe. Doctors on our platform are best equipped with the knowledge to assist you in your medical journey.


If you would like to talk to them, you can book an appointment with them here.

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What Are The Dangers Of Fake Viagra?

The production of fake Viagra is completely unregulated. 


Manufactured in sketchy areas across the globe, there is no way to determine what type of ingredients go into the fraudulent little blue pills. 


A study done by Pfizer Global Security in 2011 tested the chemical compositions of fake Viagra pills. By searching online for “Viagra” using two popular search engines, the team then ordered from the top 22 sites.


Here are some ingredients that they found which they released in a report


Some ingredients that go into fake Viagra include:

  • Amphetamines (psychostimulant drugs also known as “speed”)
  • Blue printer ink
  • Metronidazole (a powerful antibiotic sometimes used for vaginal infections that can cause diarrhoea or vomiting)
  • Drywall (a binding agent that prevents the tablet from breaking down in your system)
  • Too much or too little active agent (sildenafil) 


Possible Dangers Of Fake Viagra


There’s no doubt that taking any type of adulterated product can pose great health risks. 


Illegal manufacturers of counterfeit drugs aren’t concerned about your health. They only want profits. 


To increase their production of fake Viagra, they may resort to altering levels of sildenafil or even adding toxic ingredients that can be fatal.


Taking these knock-offs can lead to serious side effects which include (but are not limited to) organ failure, coma, or death.


For example, in Singapore, 4 men died after taking unlicensed Viagra in 2008. 7 others fell into a coma while over 135 got sick. 


Doctors found that the pills were contaminated with glyburide (a type of diabetes medication to lower blood sugar). To non-diabetics, taking the drug can kill.

Why Has There Been A Rise In Fake Viagra Production?

Fake medicines aren’t a new problem. But more worryingly, a growing market has emerged for oral ED medications like Viagra, as more people try to get their hands on the prescription drug. 


As such, more illegal online pharmacies have popped up across the internet, with many claiming to sell authentic health products.


A report from The Centre for Safe Internet Pharmacies claims that over 600 new illegal online pharmacies are launched each month, while Statista estimates that the global market for counterfeit drugs sits at a staggering US$200 billion as of 2020. 


But even with the dangers of fake Viagra, why are people still buying it? 


1. Cost

Real Viagra can be expensive. 


While Viagra is the most renowned sildenafil brand to treat ED, it averages at about SGD$95 per pill.


Online fakes are much cheaper and appealing. In Singapore, unlicensed distributors have sold fake sex pills for as cheap as SGD$2.50.


If you want to be safe and save money, opting for generic sildenafil can be a great alternative. Compared to Viagra, the average price is only about SGD$54 per pill. 


Since both Viagra and generic sildenafil contain the exact same active ingredient, assuming the dosages are kept the same, they can produce identical results in ED treatment.


At Noah, doctors on our platform can prescribe you generic sildenafil if you are experiencing ED. To get started, you can take an evaluation so that doctors on our platform can best help you in your journey.

2. Convenience and Embarrassment

Some people might feel embarrassed by their sexual health conditions. 


They may find it hard to discuss their issues with a doctor and prefer the anonymity and ease of purchasing Viagra online instead. 


But more often than not, many internet pharmacies are unlicensed and unsafe.

In a study done by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), they found that 97% of internet pharmacies that sold ED medication in the US were not compliant with federal laws, state laws, or industry standards. 


Yet, in another survey of 1,000 men with ED conducted by Harris Interactive in 2011, they found that more than 1 in 3 men (36%) would still consider purchasing ED medicines based on an online search, despite finding it difficult to determine the legitimacy of the online pharmacy. 


If you’re looking for a legitimate, discreet way of getting ED medications, Noah is the telehealth platform for you. With us, you can book a teleconsultation session with a licensed doctor from the comfort of your own home.


If prescribed, your medication will be delivered in discreet packaging within 4 hours, at no additional cost. 


3. Recreational Use

Some people who don’t have ED buy fake Viagra for recreational use. 


It is a common misconception that Viagra can boost sex drive, make men last longer, or even make their penis bigger. It doesn’t. 


If you think the drug will increase libido or increase your sexual performance when you don’t have ED, studies suggest otherwise. 

What should I look for when buying Viagra online?

Fake Viagra pills can look so convincing that it can be hard to tell the difference. Sometimes, only a lab report can distinguish the real from the fake. 


So, we want to keep you safe. 


Here are some things to look out for when buying Viagra online:

  • Mandatory consultation with a licensed medical professional who can give you a prescription if found suitable
  • Licensed pharmacy that follows a prescription from your doctor and can answer your questions
  • Distinct labels on medicine containers with the name of medication and dosages


I Think I Purchased Fake Viagra. What Do I Do?


If you think you bought fake Viagra, here’s how buyers and victims of counterfeit medicine can seek redress in Singapore.


1. Contact The HSA Enforcement Branch

If you think you purchased a counterfeit medicine or health product, you should contact the HSA Enforcement Branch at 6866 3485 or reach them through their email


HSA may investigate the matter and revoke import. They may also press criminal charges against the persons involved in the production, as necessary. 


2. Make A Police Report

If you think you are a victim of counterfeit medicine, you should make a police report.


The police may request information about the product, manufacturer, and supplier and details about what you experience as a result of the counterfeit medicine. 


According to HSA, buyers who are unaware or had no reason to believe that they bought counterfeit medicines or health products - and took all reasonable precautions against reselling - may not be liable for offenses. 

Remember To Educate Yourself And Understand The Risks

It’s important to know that like any other product, there will be counterfeits where money can be made. Consumers need to understand the risks of buying fake medicines from unlicensed pharmacies. 


Every batch of medications must go through rigorous analysis to ensure that every dosage is safe and consistent. 


Where Can I Get Genuine Viagra From?

When searching for online Viagra, look for services that are FDA-approved and those that involve licensed medical professionals. 


Remember, it’s very important to talk with a doctor first if you experience ED and want to start taking Viagra. 


If you’re looking to seek treatment, the best option will be to book a consultation with a doctor. Here at Noah, doctors on our platform are more than happy to assist and advise you on the next best steps. 


All you have to do is visit our website and answer an online evaluation. You will be able to arrange for a teleconsultation session with a licensed doctor at your convenience. 


If prescribed, your medication will be delivered straight to your door in discreet packaging within 4 hours, at no additional cost. 


We understand the stigma associated with ED. We understand that healthcare can be difficult to navigate. At Noah, we hope to make your healthcare journey simpler and smoother, so that you can live worry-free. 

DISCLAIMER

Articles featured on Noah are for informational purposes only and should not be constituted as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. If you're looking for a healthcare provider, click here.


References

Balagam, Iman. “Viagra Prices, plus How to Save Money.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 16 Nov. 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/viagra-price. [Link]

Blackstone, Erwin A, et al. “The Health and Economic Effects of Counterfeit Drugs.” American Health & Drug Benefits, Engage Healthcare Communications, LLC, June 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4105729/. [Link]

Fookes, Carmen. “Viagra: 11 Interesting Facts That You Can't Help but Be Amazed By.” Drugs.com, 12 July 2021, https://www.drugs.com/slideshow/viagra-interesting-facts-1117. [Link]

LegitScript. “The Internet Pharmacy Market in 2016 - Safemedsonline.org.” The Internet Pharmacy Market in 2016. Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities, Jan. 2016, https://safemedsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/The-Internet-Pharmacy-Market-in-2016.pdf. [Link]

Pharma Integrity Coalition. “Counterfeit Viagra Can Kill.” Pharmaceutical Integrity Coalition, 30 Oct. 2018, https://www.pharmaceuticalintegritycoalition.org/blog/130/counterfeit-viagra-can-kill/. [Link] 

Pharmaceutical Security Institute. “Therapeutic Categories.” PSI, Pharmaceutical Security Institute, 2021, https://www.psi-inc.org/therapeutic-categories. [Link]

The Straits Times. “Dying for Sex: Knock-off Sex Drugs Land Many in Hospital.” The Straits Times, 23 Nov. 2013. [Link]

Viatris. “Don't Be Fooled by Counterfeit Viagra.” Avoid Counterfeits | VIAGRA® (Sildenafil Citrate) | Safety Info, Viatris, 2020, https://www.viagra.com/avoid-counterfeits. [Link]

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Published On
December 13, 2021

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