Fight The Fakes

Speak up about fake medicines.

Stories from the Front Line

Know Your Meds

Philipp Rozewski |

Know Your Meds
Photo Credits: Know Your Meds, Poland

Many might be thinking of fake medicines and drug-adulterated dietary supplements as something rather un-European, far away from the western world. On the contrary, much of their mass production takes place, indeed, in the developing parts of the globe. But that is nothing but a disguise, as they are all meant to wind up in all parts of the world, wherever there’s enough money to turn this low-risk crime into sky-high profit.

My first close encounter with this emerging public health threat happened during the time I had been writing my dissertation at the Medical University of Warsaw. Little did I know at that time of how widespread this phenomenon was. By virtue of an anonymized survey, I found out about several cases of (probably) fake ED drugs and athletic enhancement drugs/supplements used among my closest circle of friends and acquaintances, who purchased them over the internet. This was enough to trigger my very own, private crusade.

As the designer and main coordinator of public health campaign in Poland, ‘Know Your Meds’ I decided to address this pressing issue. As a result, we started educating Polish patients not only about the rational use of true medicines, but also the irrational use of the fake ones. In fact, ‘fighting the fakes’ has later on become one of the cornerstones of our initiative, equally important as other recurrent topics we address.

Photo Credits: Know Your Meds, Poland

Photo Credits: Know Your Meds, Poland

This is why I did not hesitate long to contact ‘Fight the Fakes’ as soon as I discovered we share a common goal – raising awareness and preventing fake medicines from harming patients.

Our first step was to translate into Polish a brilliant, highly informative yet comprehensive, educational movie ‘Beware of False Friends’, that Fight the Fakes has published in the internet. We put this vide on our own website, but also in the urban TV info-screens in public transportation vehicles. We plan to put it more places, so that the message reaches the broad public.

Fighting the fakes will not be an easy fight, but Know Your Meds is committed to making a difference, of that you have my word.

Philipp Rozewski, MPharm

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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

123 countries are impacted by #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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both branded and generic products are subject to counterfeiting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally