Sofia, a pharmacy student at UCL London and a member of UCL Fight the Fakes, has been working with the campaign since 2018 and uses her academic background to deeper understand the widespread issue of substandard and falsified medicines.
My name is Sofia Khan and I am undertaking my MPharm degree at the UCL School of Pharmacy. This is my second year of being a part of the UCL Fight The Fakes team, in which I have undertaken the role of social media officer to help raise awareness about the dangers posed by substandard and falsified (SF) medicines on a wider platform. I believe that teaching pharmacy students about SF medicines is an integral part of the curriculum as pharmacists play an important role in helping prevent these reaching patients, especially through fake online pharmacies.
This is an all-encompassing issue that requires the inclusive effort from forces all over the globe to come together and eliminate this threat. We cannot turn a blind eye – this is an issue we should all be concerned about because, whether you have been directly been affected or not, countless lives are being lost to substandard and falsified drugs and it is our duty as drivers of the future heath force to lead this fight against fake meds.
Many of us take medicines safety for granted as it’s not a problem we face in our everyday lives. But as Michael Deats (an expert on medicine safety and vigilance at WHO) stated, “location doesn’t matter. It’s about just as risky to buy medications from a street market in Africa as it is to buy them from an unregulated website in North America”, thus highlighting that there is in fact a global crisis at hand and everyone has a role to play.
Drug quality is not an issue that should be open to negotiation. The criteria for all pharmaceuticals should be clear, in all corners of the world. Everyone deserves access to safe and reliable healthcare and as future healthcare professionals, we must raise awareness on the dangers of SF medicines to safeguard public health advancements. All medicines must meet the criteria and guidelines that have been put in place; there is no other option. This call for action should be echoed around the globe and amplified to initiate an unstoppable movement for the eradication of all fake medicines… because fighting against fake medicines is everyone’s business.
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