Fight The Fakes

Speak up about fake medicines.

Campaign Updates

The 71th World Health Assembly is taking action towards #HealthForAll between 21 and 26 May 2018

Fight The Fakes |

The 71th World Health Assembly is taking action towards #HealthForAll between 21 and 26 May 2018

One of the most important bodies of the World Health Organization (WHO) is the World Health Assembly (WHA), responsible for making high-level decisions on the policies of the Organization, finance and budget and many more. Every year the WHO Member States delegations meet for the Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland for a full week of events and side-events focused on a specific agenda.

This year in its 71st edition, the WHA takes place between 21– 26 May throughout Geneva. Discover what the delegations will discuss in the Preliminary Journal.

We are thrilled that the subject of combating falsified medicines will be addressed during different side event by different stakeholders and organizations. We’ve listed below the events you should keep an eye on:

22 May @ 9:00 – 16:30, UNAIDS Secretariat, Avenue Appia 20, Geneva

16:30 – 19:30, Palais des Nations, Salle XIX and high-level segment at Palais des Nations, Salle XX

Organisation Internationale de Francophonie, ONUSIDA, WHO and Fondation Chirac

Conférence internationale sur l’accès aux médicaments et autres produits médicaux de qualité en Afrique francophone


The OIF/UNAIDS international conference on access to quality medicine and other medical products in francophone Africa aims to create partnerships and calls for action for the fight against falsified medicines and low-quality medicine with focus in Africa. The aim is to identify solutions on national, regional and international level and draw the necessary resources. The event will be co-chaired by the President of Benin, Mr Patrice Talon. The event will be honored with the presence of Ms Michaëlle Jean, Secretary General of the Francophonie, by Mr Michel Sibidé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, President of Comores Azali Assoumani, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, Ms Claude Chirac, Presinde of the Jacques Chirac Foundation, Ms Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD, Dr John Nkengasong the Director of Africa CDC Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the francophone health ministers as well as the representatives of international organizations and civil society.


23 May @ 8:00 AM – 10:00, Restaurant Vieux-Bois, Avenue de la Paix 12, Geneva

Organized by USP, PATH, Harvard Global Health Institute and others

Medicines We Can Trust: A Call to Safeguard Quality


The event will explore the consequences of substandard and falsified medicines for individuals and communities, analyze connections between poor-quality medicines and antimicrobial resistance and discuss solutions and best practices to overcome the challenge. The speakers include Fiona Adshead, Deputy CEO of the NCD Alliance, Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, England, Mick Deats, Group Lead, Substandard and Falsified Medical Products, WHO and others.


24 May @ 18:00 – 19:30, Room VIII

Organized by the delegations of Canada, Ireland, Japan, Mexico and the USA

Combatting the Challenges of Substandard and Falsified Medical Products: the Critical Role of Regulators


The esteemed panel includes:

 Mariangela Simão, Assistant Director-General, Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals, WHO

Yehulu Denekew, Director-General, Food Medicine and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority of Ethiopia

Julio Sánchez y Tépoz, Commissioner, Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) of Mexico

Rita Purcell, Deputy Chief Executive, Health Products Regulatory Authority, Republic of Ireland

Peter Sands, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria

Suzanne Hill, (Moderator) Director, Essential Medicines and Health Products, WHO


25 May @ 9:00 – 11:00, Intercontinental Hotel – Paris Room, Chemin Du Petit-Saconnex 7-9, Geneva

Organized by USP, co-hosted by Unitaid and the Government on Ethiopia

Incentivizing investments in access to quality medicines

The cross-sector high level panel discussion will discuss global access to quality medicines for positive public health outcomes and how shortages of quality-assured essential medicines remain a significant challenge for such outcomes. Speakers include Mr Mark Abdoo, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Global Regulatory Operations and Policy, US FDA, Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu, CEO Roll Back Malaria Partnership, also partner of Fight the Fakes, Ms Sanne Fournier-Wendes, Chief of Staff at Unitaid and others.


If you feel like kicking off WHA71 in style, join in the #WalkTheTalk. This is an exciting activity to draw attention on the benefits of physical activity on health.

20 May @ 9:45 – 13:00 in Geneva and also around the world

Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge

Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on #fakemeds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both branded and generic products are subject to counterfeiting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

123 countries are impacted by #fakemeds

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

#DidYouKnow? 96% of online pharmacies operate illegally

2011: European Customs retained 27.5 million #fakemeds

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