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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36% of #anti-malarial drugs in #SoutheastAsia are #fakemeds

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

Criminals trafficking #fakemeds make profits 10x more than those trafficking illicit drugs

In 2013 1.2 million sachets of #fakemeds were seized in Le Havre, France. The biggest seizure in the #EU

1 medicine in 2 purchased on internet sites that conceal their physical address is a #fakemed

Both branded and generic products are subject to counterfeiting

In 2013 US authorities published warning of fake #diabetes meds—ineffective & dangerous for patients

#Fakemeds seized in Le Havre in May 2013 were hidden in sachets of tea

Poisons found in #fakemeds include mercury, rat poison, boric acid, paint & antifreeze

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

India may have as much as 12-25% of their supply contaminated with substandard and #fakemeds

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

Of the 1mil deaths per year due to #malaria, 200,000 could be avoided if patients weren't treated with #fakemeds

More than 50% of medicine sold worldwide from illegal online sources are #fakemeds

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

In 2013, Operation #Biyela seized 550 million doses of illicit medicine in #Africa

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

#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally

2011: European Customs retained 27.5 million #fakemeds

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

Decades of fighting #malaria could be put at risk by #fakemeds on the market

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

700,000 people die because of #fakemeds to treat #malaria & #TB each year

Up to 30% of medicines in developing countries are #fakemeds

20% of all #malaria deaths worldwide can be directly associated with the use of #fakemeds

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

From antibiotics to pain relievers, more than 500 versions of fake #pharmaceutical products are circulating #fakemeds

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

Up to 40% of the drug supply of some countries in Africa could be #fakemeds

Every therapeutic class of pharmaceutical product has been the subject of #counterfeiting

#Fakemeds seized during #Biyela? Antibiotics, painkillers, meds for high blood pressure & diabetes

123 countries are impacted by #fakemeds

.@UNODC estimates the market value of fake #antimalarials at over US$400mil in west Africa alone

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

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

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