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Japan awash in fake medicines

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For Japan, says Shukan Jitsuwa (Nov 12), 2006 was Year One of the fake med influx that by now has risen to a flood tide.

In that sense Japan lagged behind much of the rest of the world, which began to be inundated by counterfeit medication in 2000. The magazine is surprised by the apparent indifference with which the Japanese public is responding to this dangerous infiltration.

The number one country of origin, the “superpower” of counterfeit production, is alleged to be China, with North Korea and India not far behind. And though the most lucrative merchandise seems to be fake Viagra, there are other products worthy of note, among them fake anti-Alzheimer’s drugs and, somewhat surprisingly, fake maidenheads for women who want to go, or rather seem to go, virgin to the marriage bed.

The arrest last June in Osaka of three alleged Japanese middlemen suggests the extent of the overall problem -- they had allegedly sold 60,000 tablets of fake Viagra.

The fakes are not necessarily without active ingredients, though in some cases they apparently are. The point is that the ingredients do not go through rigorous medical screening, and according to Shukan Jitsuwa are often produced in “appallingly unsanitary places.” Some deaths have been reported, though not so far in Japan.

Some users are deceived; others buy fakes knowingly. The draw is that they are considerably cheaper than the legitimate products. So appealing are the bargains that makers do not always even bother to conceal the fakery. Sometimes they actually boast of it, with labels that read, for example, “Nanchatte Viagra” -- “nanchatte” being suggestive of a joke.

The fake maidenheads -- cellulose strips that mimic the hymen, even to the point of emitting red blood-like liquid, are marketed under names like Joan of Arc Red, Holy Woman, and so on. These would seem of marginal interest in sexually liberated Japan, and in fact the prime markets are Islamic countries of the Middle East. (An outraged Egyptian government is considering banning their importation, says Shukan Jitsuwa.) But in Japan, though, there are sexually adventurous couples who will try anything -- even that.

Fake meds of all kinds constitute a real economic force -- in Japan it’s a nearly 4 trillion yen a year market, Shukan Jitsuwa estimates. The fakers’ gain, of course, is the legitimate medical industry’s loss.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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Fake Maidenheads.... I can't stop laughing!

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Why the heck would someone knowingly buy fake medicine!? Fake Viagra? Okay, maybe funny for a gag-gift. But fake Alzheimer's drugs? That's cruel.

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get your head out of the water dolphingirl... people aren't buying these things knowingly. this has been an ongoing problem for a long time in the US, especially over the internet, sales of these phony drugs have really taken off. Apparently word hasn't reached Japan, but this should be of little surprise. As we all are told, Japanese don't take drugs unless they are forced to by foreigners. Oops, I'm on a rant... too much of that gateway drug... alcohol.

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Fake hymens? You have got to be kidding. How horrible it must be to live in a country where a woman can be abused or killed for not being a virgin.

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More "truth" from disreputable tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa. Forgive me if I don't believe any of this until I read it in a proper source.

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More "truth" from disreputable tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa. Forgive me if I don't believe any of this until I read it in a proper source.

Yes, Pawatan, go to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun for your truth -- it tells you the economy is "recovering" and it's a good time to buy stocks. Nobody has a monopoly on truth, or falsehood. Besides, Japanese tabloids are always good for a chuckle.

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CoolCali, Dolphingirl is quoting the article so read it thoroughly before casting aspersions.

The line about people buying fake medicine does seem concocted though. "Haha, I just spent $50 on fake Viagra, haha." The humour would soon wear out.

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In that sense Japan lagged behind much of the rest of the world

in EVERY sense

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maidenheads are medicine? Why are these in the same article?

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Yeah the "maidenheads" part just seems to have been randomly cut and pasted in there.

In my view this is not a well-written or meaningful article.

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In my view this is not a well-written or meaningful article.

welcome to JT-world

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It is going on in Canada & the USA as well. So many people are willing to fork out money for something that they are told to be the answer. For sure the Net is full of things like that.

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fake maidenheads, fake orgasms, fake brand accessories, fake hair color, fake eyelashes, fake breasts, it never stops:)

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really good question, though...who WOULD buy fake medication knowlingly??? Maybe other people wanting to pass it off as the "real thing" ...that line really does warrant some more attention.

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What about Coral Calcium from the beaches of Okinawa? Or Natto, from Japan, used as a blood thinner. Or, how about bitter melon being sold to diabetics to fix your blood sugars. Incidentally, these were all medicines long before drugs were invented.

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That is scary. You mean that the medications I am taking, prescribed by a physician here, could be ecstacy or LSD or Vitamin C?????

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Fake meds of all kinds constitute a real economic force—in Japan it’s a nearly 4 trillion yen a year market....

Fake meds, masks that don't work as advertised. This is not earth-shattering news. Anybody with common sense living in Japan should already know it. But then again, common sense is sometimes lacking in distribution and potency everywhere in the world.

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Wait, so you mean those Double D cup pills I've been secretly giving my girlfriend won't work?

The fakers’ gain, of course, is the legitimate medical industry’s loss.

Not always. A good hawker of legitimate medicines can use their veracity as a solid marketing claim.

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