My name is Catherine Mak and I am a Pre-registration Pharmacist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, and Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group.

Joining the Fight the Fakes campaign to me is fundamental as a pharmacist and expert in medicines. Where medicines are the most commonly used form of therapy for patients, and pharmacists the community’s information point for medicines advice – being informed of the risks of counterfeit medicines is a no brainer.

I have been involved in Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, a network to improve global access to essential medicines and medical innovations, and studied the supply chain of essential medicines in developing and developed countries – from these experiences I have developed a broader perspective and understanding to the global challenges in access to essential medicines.

In living in the UK, fake medicines in the healthcare system are rare and we are fortunate to have rigorous regulations in place to stop them. Given this, it was a news article that caught my eye: the UK had seized a record haul of counterfeit drugs and then it hit home – the internet opens a gateway to an unregulated market posing a serious threat to those who are unknowing and hoping to get a ‘good deal’. This was the essence of my interest, which led me to research Operation Pangea.

Without the knowledge to identify fraudulent drugs and rogue suppliers, our communities are vulnerable to being deceived, and in the worst case suffer the clinical consequences.

By spreading the word to raise awareness to combat fake medicines, I hope to bring the global issue to a local level and help prevent exacerbating drug resistance, clinical complications and deaths that can result from supply of fake medicines.