Fight The Fakes

Speak up about fake medicines.

Stories from the Front Line

Model United Nations Delegates Tackle Fake Medicines

Vittoria Grasso |

Model United Nations Delegates Tackle Fake Medicines
NHSMUN 2014 Staff

My name is Vittoria Grasso and I am a Venezuelan student studying economics at Bocconi University in Milan.

This year I got the opportunity to be the Model UN (MUN) Director for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime at the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN). I chose to make Fraudulent Medicines the topic of discussion for of two reasons. First, I thought it would be interesting to debate something that not only happens everywhere, but that each one of us could have easily had contact with without even noticing—an issue that is becoming more common every day, yet no one speaks about. And second, I chose it because it was a crime related topic with a very strong social component.

Fraudulent medicines are worth taking seriously because, unlike other crimes and types of counterfeiting, with this one you not only are completely fooled, but are also not given an option. Unlike illicit drugs- those you know are going to harm you yet you choose to consume- with fraudulent medicines you are promised health, but might end up worse or even dying. According to a World Health Organization survey, approximately 700,000 people die each year due to counterfeit malaria and tuberculosis medication alone. Throughout the world, fraudulent medicines can be pushed as cheap alternatives, but these are medicines you would be better off not consuming at all.

Hearing over 3100 students from 25 different countries debate fraudulent medicines was an incredible experience. They were engaged and eager to find solutions and proposals ranged from international databases and annual summits to further regulation on production and distribution, plans for a better disposal of expired drugs, punishment reform, and identification codes. Granting students the opportunity to participate in such debates and policy discussions helps them become responsible and proactive citizens in the future. The role young people play in policymaking is dynamic. With innovative ideas and creative lobbying, young people are faced with the task of bridging the gap to the older generation, and bringing change.

My own involvement with Model UN started in 2010 when I was a student looking to try something new. After participating as a delegate for two years, I decided I wanted to continue as part of staff because I believed in its premise. I believe in the idea of using these simulations not only as a means to teach high school students critical thinking and problem solving, but also as a tool to raise awareness about all the issues and problems that we see as distant but that actually affect us all.

“Fraudulent medicines are falsely labelled and sold drugs and pharmaceuticals. These are serious threats to individuals in developing countries, who are unknowingly consuming poisonous substances as opposed to the medications they actually need.” –Student delegate representing Japan

Click here to visit the Intentional Model United Nations Association website.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Back to List

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

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

2011: European Customs retained 27.5 million #fakemeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally

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

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

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

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

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

Both branded and generic products are subject to counterfeiting

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

123 countries are impacted by #fakemeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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