Fight The Fakes

Speak up about fake medicines.

Stories from the Front Line

Our right to banish fake medicines

Venus Lam |

Our right to banish fake medicines


I am Venus Lam, a final year student in UCL School of Pharmacy. I was born and raised in Hong Kong where a sound legislative system and strict regulations on pharmaceutical industry are in place. in parts of mainland China, just across the border, pharmaceutical quality and control can be less reputable. Therefore, it is no surprise to see thousands of people coming across the border to pharmacies in Hong Kong to buy their essential medicines.

Since safe and easily accessible medicines should always be fundamental, it makes me wonder why people need to travel all the way just to get their basic human rights fulfilled. Therefore, if I can be at frontline fighting against fake medicines, why not?

As healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to deal with this pressing global health issue by raising awareness to industry, to governments and to the public. Patients may not know what are genuine life-saving medicines and what are fake ones until it is too late. Therefore, we should encourage all stakeholders to implement the necessary countermeasures so as to ensure the safest medicines can go into the hands of every patient.

Moreover, we are now living in world of technology and globalisation. This leads to the emerging online distribution of fake medicines in the last decades and poses a risk for the health and safety of unaware consumers. Fake medicines might not only cause delayed treatment, but patients might even suffer from profound side effects due to their poor quality. This should definitely alarm all parties that this subject is not only happening in developing countries but possibly also here in the UK.

I am very glad to be a part of this campaign. As global citizens and healthcare professionals, it is our duty to fight against this inhumane phenomenon, no matter in developed or developing countries, hand in hand with other campaign partners.

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#fakemeds are 10% to 30% of global medicine: less than 1% in some countries, +30% in parts of Africa Asia & Latin America

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On internet sites that conceal their physical address 50% of the drugs are #fakemeds

#fakemeds could be up to 15% of medicines in circulation worldwide

In the US only 4% of online pharmacies appear to be in compliance with pharmacy laws & practice standards

.@INTERPO_HQ L Operation #PangeaVI seized 9.8 million illegal & counterfeit drugs #fakemeds

60% of all spam offers medicine- its an inexpensive way for #counterfeiters to target you with #fakemeds.

2011: European Customs retained 27.5 million #fakemeds

#DidYouKnow? Possession of #fakemeds is illegal, not just production or sale

NIH 2012 study of 7 countries in southeast Asia reveals that 36% of #antimalarials are #fakemeds

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#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally

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#Fakemeds: 32% have no active ingredients, 40% have incorrect ingredients & dose, 8.5% contain dangerous contaminants

1 out of 4 counterfeit products intercepted by EU customs in 2011 were #fakemeds

#Fakemeds can contain no active ingredients at all – a direct threat to patients that need treatment

30% of countries have little or no regulation to effectively combat #fakemeds