Fight The Fakes

Speak up about fake medicines.

Stories from the Front Line

Victoria Amponsah’s Story

U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) |

Victoria Amponsah’s Story

The day Victoria Amponsah was diagnosed with malaria she also learned that she was two months pregnant. She left the hospital with a prescription for an anti-malarial drug and, like patients anywhere else in the world, went to a local pharmacy believing that the medicine she purchased would treat her condition. Victoria bought what she thought was a genuine, effective drug, but that was not the case. Her condition quickly worsened and within hours she was admitted to the hospital, learning later that she had been sold counterfeit pills.

Fortunately, Victoria and her baby survived the trauma and successfully fought off malaria, but this would not be her only personal encounter with fake medicine. At the end of her healthy pregnancy, she was deceived by a fake version of oxytocin, disguised in an official-looking package. Within thirty minutes, Victoria started sweating, shaking, vomiting and bleeding. She was in the hospital for two days, nearly lost her baby and had to return to the hospital every week after the incident for some time.

As Victoria knows all too well, fake medicine can threaten your health or even claim your life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 700,000 people die every year from fake malaria and tuberculosis drugs alone. The WHO also estimates that 25-60% of the medicine supply in developing countries is either substandard or counterfeit.

“I am hoping that globally people understand that our lives are more important than the little money they will make out of bringing a fake drug out. [I hope] people will understand that it’s not all about money. It’s about life…the smallest thing, like just a tiny drug which is bad can cause so much damage in one’s life.” – Victoria Amponsah

Watch this video to hear more about Victoria’s story and learn how to be part of the solution. Together, we can help Fight the Fakes to ensure that all citizens of the world have access to affordable, high quality, safe and beneficial medicines.


Victoria lives in Accra, Ghana with her son, Denzel (named after actor, Denzel Washington). Her story gives voice to the millions of people around the world who are vulnerable, and too often victims, to the devastating consequences of fake medicine.


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Both branded and generic products are subject to counterfeiting

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

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

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

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

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

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

#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally

2011: European Customs retained 27.5 million #fakemeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

123 countries are impacted by #fakemeds