Fake Drugs Impact Africa, More Profitable Than Illicit Drug Market

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The fake drug market, worth over 400 billion euros, is more profitable than the sale of illicit drugs. Each year 800,000 people, most of them in Africa, die because of fake drugs, because they can be less expensive and more accessible than the real thing. RFI has launched a public awareness campaign against fake medications with the Chirac Foundation with the slogan "Street medication kills".

Fake drugs can contain harmless substances which are ineffective against the disease they are purporting to treat or they can be actually harmful. Substances like rat poison and anti-freeze have been found in fake pills and serums because they mimic the look and taste of the real products.

The confusion with counterfeit drugs is understandable, says Yuanqiong Hu, Legal and Policy Advisor for Doctors Without Borders’ (MSF) Access campaign.

“Legally speaking, counterfeiting may involve trademark infringement but it is not related to the quality and safety of a drug,” she told RFI. “So the use of the term counterfeit causes confusion for patients who do not know if the problem relates to intellectual property or the actual safety of the drug.”

Some counterfeit drugs are safe, although drug companies are not happy with the copyright infringement.

But fake drugs, which can look smell and taste like the real thing, can either kill or harm you, or not be effective at all against the disease you are trying to treat.


Source: RFI (link opens in a new window)

Health Care