Fight The Fakes

Speak up about fake medicines.

Campaign Updates

Stakeholders discuss online pharmacies in the EU

Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) |

Stakeholders discuss online pharmacies in the EU


On 17 June 2016, Fight the Fakes participated in a stakeholder roundtable with expert organizations involved in protecting people from illicit medicines online in the EU.

The meeting, convened by our partner Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy in the EU (ASOP EU) and hosted at Google offices in Brussels, welcomed representatives from ASOP Global, the Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM), the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network (EHFCN), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), the European Healthcare Distribution Association (GIRP), the European Association of Mail Service Pharmacies (EAMSP), the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and FakeShare.

The stakeholder meeting provided the chance to share upcoming initiatives in the field of fighting fake medicines online, to share lessons learned, enhance collaboration and to establish more concretely the key messages to inform the public about buying medicines online safely.

The meeting also discussed the implementation of the EU Common Logo, a seal to appear on every webpage in Europe that is selling a medicine, as part of the Falsified Medicines Directive. EU Member States are obliged to introduce this security system and run awareness campaigns about falsified medicines and to publicize the purpose of the logo. The Italian, Netherlands and UK health agencies took the opportunity to present their plans and activities on this important patient safety initiative.

Patients should only buy medicines from online retailers that are legitimate and registered with national authorities. As stated by the European Medicines Agency, “When you buy medicines from unregistered sources you are at greater risk of purchasing falsified medicines. These medicines may not have passed through the usual rigorous evaluation processes that ensure that a medicine is fit for the EU market.”

Accidentally purchasing fake medicines online is not only a waste of money, but could also lead to a disease being left untreated, severe side effects and/or even consuming poisonous substances.

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

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

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

Both branded and generic products are subject to counterfeiting

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

#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally

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

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

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

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

2011: European Customs retained 27.5 million #fakemeds

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

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

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

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

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

123 countries are impacted by #fakemeds

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

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

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

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

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

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

#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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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