Counterfeit medicines and other health products can have harmful effects on patients’ health, including death in worst-case scenarios. These fake products are also detrimental to public health efforts to deal with diseases in countries, which are already stretched thin with limited resources for health care.
The counterfeiting of medicines has been a problem many decades in many countries around the world. As international markets expand and become globalized the problem has extended to all countries and regions; even though it remains more prevalent in developing countries. The increase in the commercial use of the Internet has also contributed to a growth of the problem as many fake products are sold illegally on unauthorized web sites.
All of us have a common goal to protect the well-being of patients in all parts of the world from poor quality, substandard and counterfeit medical products. Health professionals are taking pro-active steps in collaboration with Member States and WHO to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of all medical products available in countries, in accordance with recognized international standards. This form of quality assurance applies to both branded and generic products, to both the private and public sectors, and to both imported and locally manufactured products.
WMA together with the other health professionals of the World Health Professions Alliance WHPA developed the ‘Be aware’ Campaign with offers tools and strategies to advocate for appropriate investments in the education and capacity building of health professionals to detect counterfeits and to safely inform colleagues and patients.