Readers' Submissions

Fake Medications In Thailand

  • Written by Anonymous
  • August 31st, 2006
  • 2 min read


Several types of medications that are available in Thailand (especially those in the little pharmacies along Sukumvit, in Bangkok) are fake.

The most common types of fake medications sold are :

– Sexual dysfunction drugs (Viagra, Penagra, Cialis, and the like);
– Tranquilizers;
– Sleep inducing drugs, such as benzodiazepines
– Anti depressants.
– Cardiac, blood pressure, renal and hepatic medications.

All such drugs require a doctor’s prescription in Thailand so if you are offered such drugs without a prescription, there is a high degree of probability that you are getting fakes. Additionally, if you choose to buy such drugs, you really don’t know what you will be ingesting and what the effects of such medications will be.

A doctor’s prescription for medication costs about sixty baht and is easy to obtain. Doesn’t it make sense to buy medication from a reputable hospital pharmacy, based on a doctor’s prescription, rather than trust one’s luck and / or the word of an unknown pharmacy owner, catering to tourists and out to make a fast buck?

A doctor's prescription can be easily had from any one of the major hospitals in the vicinity of the Victory Monument, in Bangkok. Alternatively, one can get a doctor’s prescription from internationally known medical facilities, such as Bumrungrad Hospital.

My experience with fake medications occurred when some friends of mine purchased some tablets of Penagra (the low cost, generic, Indian version of Viagra) from a pharmacy on Sukumvit. This pharmacy is located a few shops away from a major department store (on Sukumvit) and is close to a bookstore. We followed all instructions, that is, took a 100 mg tablet each, on an empty stomach, with no alcohol. All of us reported no effects whatever as a result of this medication.

My friend had a few tablets of genuine Viagra, which he had purchased from his home country. We then took a pill each of the genuine stuff the next day. I was really amazed at the result; all of us landed up with five hour boners. Strangely, this medication acted on me within about fifteen minutes, rather than the one hour indicated in Viagra literature.

My friend took the unused Penagra back to the harmacy and asked for a refund. The young chap at the counter laughed and told my friend to get lost. He had deliberately swindled my friend. The chap at the pharmacy counter knew that my friend had no recourse; a report to the Tourist Police would be invalid, because the medication had been purchased without a doctor’s prescription.

My experience with getting a doctor's prescriptions in Thailand occurred when I had developed a really bad stomach problem which OTC medications from Boots were unable to cure. I went to one of the hospitals adjacent to the Victory Monument and discussed my problem with an English speaking doctor. The doctor prescribed a series of medicines, which eventually cured the stomach ailment that I’d developed. The total charge was one hundred and sixty baht.

Of this charge, sixty baht related to the prescription.

Stickman's thoughts:

Some stores sell dodgy drugs and some sell the real thing. Just how widespread the problem of fake drugs is, who knows? Personally I always go to hospital and see a doctor. Buying anything stronger than Paracetamol over the counter is not something I am comfortable doing.