M'sia pharmacist warns of fake Panadol pills sold there & shares how to spot them

To be sure, you can check the product online via Malaysia's pharmaceutical regulatory agency.

Zhangxin Zheng | August 24, 2019, 01:39 AM

Panadol is a household brand of paracetamol pills that are commonly ingested to relieve pain and stave off fever symptoms.

They are readily available at convenience stores without the need for any doctor's prescription.

However, its ubiquity might be an issue, as a Facebook post by a Malaysian pharmacist, Zeff Tan, is warning people of fake Panadol pills found in Malaysia.

Fake Panadol pills sold in Malaysia

Tan shared on Aug. 21 that he has heard about the presence of fake Panadol pills in Malaysia, but only managed to obtain the fake pills through a friend recently.

Tan then proceeded to do a visual comparison of the authentic and fake pills to see if regular people can tell them apart:

Being an experienced pharmacist, it is not difficult for Tan to identify the authentic pills from the fake ones.

He then kindly shared tips in a separate post so that people can avoid buying the fake pills.

Spot the differences

At a glance, the two packages of pills look pretty similar, but one can actually identify the authentic pills from the details on the packaging.

Tan shared the following ways to identify fake pills:

1. Check registered MAL number

According to Tan, every drug or cosmetic product will be registered with a MAL number that is reflected at the back of the packaging.

One can check whether the item purchased is real by verifying the registered number online via Malaysia's pharmaceutical regulatory agency.

2. Typos and material of packaging

Fake Panadol pills also have a rough packaging material with typos such as misspelling of the company's name.

On the packaging, Tan observed that GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company that produces Panadol was misspelled as "ClaxoSmithKline" instead.

Notably, authentic pills will also have the ® symbol along with "Panadol" printed on the packaging.

3. Rough edges on the pills

Tan also showed that fake pills have rough edges due to poorer workmanship, or even broken pieces, possibly to cut the cost of production.

Tan's useful tips have since garnered more than 2,900 shares on Facebook.

One of the comments also confirmed the presence of fake Panadols circulating in the market:

Screenshot from Facebook.


"This is real, I bought the fake Panadol active fast..same as the photos, there is a red line by the side at the back of the packaging..the pills have a crispy texture, you feel bad after eating them, very pek cek...real Panadol active fast won't make you feel so horrible after eating them."

This comment also appears to suggest taking fake pills might proof not only ineffective, but also harmful to the body.

Here's the original post by Tan:

All photos from Zeff Tan's Facebook