Fight The Fakes

Speak up about fake medicines.

Stories from the Front Line

Fake medicines, an awful deception

Quentin Duteil |

Fake medicines, an awful deception

My name is Quentin Duteil and I am a 21 years old French pharmacy student. I began pharmacy studies 5 years ago, passionate about helping people in need fight their disease. To be honest, I’ve never been that interested in the research and development of medicines, but much more by how these formidable tools can heal or give relief to people who are sick.

I was born and raised in France where the fake medicines from a pharmacy are not a common problem, and the truth is I had never before experienced or heard of the phenomenon. So why did I decide on this subject for my thesis? That’s a question many people have asked.

During my second year of pharmacy studies, I heard about fake medicines for the first time. After quite a lot of theoretical classing, I was really captivated to learn about what was happening in the real world of public health. Among the amazing scientific discoveries, terrible natural disasters, and outbreaks of infectious diseases I was truly struck by the horror of fake medicines.

To imagine that some of the best tools ever created, one in which people have great confidence and can rely on almost blindly, one in which I firmly believe in and plan to work with all my professional life, could be used to deceive people and threaten their health—even their lives! The extent of this deception terrified me.

I started to read stories from the front line, from people exposed to this threat every single day. In France, so little is known about fake medicines. But when reading about international operations lead by organizations like Interpol and the World Health Organization, it becomes clear that though this problem isn’t new at all, fake medicines are becoming a growing struggle for the world. And so that is how I became passionate about joining in a global movement for the critical fight against fake medicines.

For several months now this has been the main focus in my work, and I want my thesis to be one more tool to increase public awareness. I have been working to share information about this issue through online and social networks, and I am proud to join the Fondation Chirac in a project lead by the French National Academy of Medicine proposing new steps the government can take to better protect people from fake medicines.

Fake medicines are spreading quickly around the world, now invading even strong and well-regulated health systems. People and governments must be conscious of this and take the necessary actions in order to protect public health. Let’s hope this is only the beginning: the fight goes on, and every party involved must now raise their voice. Our health should be our most cherished possession.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Back to List

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

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

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

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

Both branded and generic products are subject to counterfeiting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2011: European Customs retained 27.5 million #fakemeds

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

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

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

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

#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally

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

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

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

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

123 countries are impacted by #fakemeds

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

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