STUDENTS are being targeted by cowboy firms selling fake medicines for freshers week.
But the cheap versions of everyday drugs being marketed online could harm or even kill, experts have warned.
Tests on some of the counterfeit pills were found to contain paint, brick dust, floor polish, cleaning agents and boric acid.
Neville Broad, lab research manager with pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, said: “They are made to look like the real thing but you can’t be sure what’s inside them.
“We found all sorts of things – many of them toxic. At the worst case it could kill you. In the best case it just won’t work.”
‘DON’T BE CATFISHED’
Pfizer have launched a UK-wide social media campaign to raise alert students to the dangers of buying fake drugs, such as those claiming to be the anti-anxiety tablet Xanax.
They will run short videos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter highlighting the risks involved with the catchphrase “Don’t be catfished by counterfeit medicine”.
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One shows a lab worker explaining the shocking things he has found in fake drugs and the other begins as an online dating video with a “reveal” showing the photos were taken on a fake set.
Mr Broad added: “Counterfeit medicines are made by criminals, not by trained scientists, which can mean they are made in unhygienic places, without rigorous testing or regulation.
“They can contain harmful substances, too. The bottom line is you don’t know what you are swallowing. The safest way to get your medicines is always from your GP, a doctor or a chemist.”