Fight The Fakes

Speak up about fake medicines.

Stories from the Front Line

Fake medicines are an injustice

Clement Mak |

Fake medicines are an injustice
UCL School of Pharmacy

My name is Clement Mak and I am a third year pharmacy student studying in London, United Kingdom. I am pursuing a career in pharmacy because I want to provide the best medical treatments and advice to patients. Due to the high level of patient interactions and accessibility to pharmacies, pharmacists have become one of the most trusted and respected healthcare professionals by the public. Thus, a crucial responsibility for pharmacists is to ensure that patients receive the genuine medications.

I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada. After hearing a lecture on fake medicines at my university, my view on this subject matter changed drastically as I discovered that this public health concern was a lot closer to us than I thought.

Criminals have started to use the internet to distribute these problematic medicines. They grasp the public’s attention by offering these drugs at a lower price or without the need of a prescription. The health of these patients would potentially be jeopardized if they were to take these medications.

Everyone deserves to receive the same level of excellent medical care. Thus, fake medicines have harmed social justice and equity in society. Pharmacists have the perfect platform to make a positive influence as they are the medicine experts to whom the public turns. Fighting this battle will not be a simple task, but it is up to us, the future pharmacists and healthcare professionals, to do all we can to raise awareness of the danger of counterfeit medicines and to safeguard the public.

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#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally

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

Both branded and generic products are subject to counterfeiting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

123 countries are impacted by #fakemeds

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

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

.@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.

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

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

2011: European Customs retained 27.5 million #fakemeds

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

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

#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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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