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Counterfeit Medication. Don’t get caught out!

About the Author:


Beverley Tompkins

Specialist Travel Health Nurse AFTM RCPS (Glasg)

Beverley is Nomad's Specialist Travel Health nurse. She started nursing in infectious diseases before joining Nomad in 2010 to pursue her career as a Travel Health Nurse. Beverley is an Associate member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow and member of the British Travel and Global Health Association. Beverley is very passionate about travel health, when she is not in clinic she enjoys writing articles on the subject and presenting.

Nomad Travel Health Services

Nomad Travel Clinics

Need help? Please book an appointment or call
0134 155 5061

Using the Nomad clinic services gives you a one-to-one experience with a qualified, highly trained, travel health nurse.

The consultation includes:

  • A detailed medical history
  • Risk assessment based on style and length of your trip
  • Advice on preventative measures you can take

Your pharmacy based travel clinic is all very well but for specialist advice at the same or lower cost come to Nomad. This is strongly advised if you are on a more adventurous or complex itinerary, or have special medical needs. Nomad Travel Clinics are specialists in:

  • Last minute travel
  • Complex itineraries
  • Travel health and existing medical conditions
  • Open 6 days per week

allowing 6-8 weeks for your vaccination programme, you have time to fit in full courses of vaccines where required which provides you with the best possible protection against certain vaccine preventable diseases. If you don’t have time to complete courses before you go, you risk travelling with little or even no protection against sometimes high risk diseases.

Nomad Pharmacy

Nomad Travel Pharmacy has a wide range of Pharmacy items for all your outdoor and travel needs. Browse the Nomad Pharmacy here...


Many travellers like to think that an accident or illness could happen abroad and because of this there are many of us depart on our trip without any appropriate first aid including medications.
Did you know that counterfeit/ substandard medicines are a major worldwide problem?

It is estimated that more than 30% of medication on sale in developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America is counterfeit. These include common medications that are required by travellers such as painkillers (paracetamol) antibiotics and antimalarials. Some of these drugs particularly antimalarials and painkillers can contain too much or too little of the drug which can cause serious harm.
It is very easy to be tempted to buy medication abroad as it is often cheaper; however we are all too often unaware of the risks.

Antimalarials should always be purchased before travel and all of us should be travelling with a suitable medical kit including painkillers, first aid items, diarrhoea treatment and in some cases antibiotics and other medicines.
Online is a great place of ordering antiamalarials and other medicines for travel. It is convenient and often cheaper than from the high street pharmacies; however we should only use reputable online pharmacies like Nomad, that clearly state they are registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). If it is a necessity to purchase medications abroad, we should not purchase from open markets or suspicious pharmacies and should suspect any unusually low-priced medication and look out for poor quality printing, misspelled words and packaging of medicines. Other possible signs of counterfeit medicines can be discolouration, splits and spots on the pills themselves.

If purchased and taken, we should be alert to any unexpected drug reactions and seek medical attention immediately. A local British embassy may be able to provide a list of reliable medical facilities and pharmacies in the area.

There is absolutely no reason to go unprepared. Nomad has a range of bespoke medical kits to suit all types of travellers which can be purchased in clinic or via the website. Already made up and ready to be packed away in your backpack or case, there is no need to waste time searching or shopping around for individual items.

Think ahead. Take all medicines with you, avoid purchasing them in country.