Teaming Up Against Fake Medicines

A version of this post written by my colleague Amy O'Connor originally appeared on LillyPad US.

You know the old adage “too many cooks in the kitchen”?  It can be problematic for some situations. But when it comes to solving the most pressing global health challenges, we need all the sous chefs we can get – especially when fake medicines are involved.

recent study from the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine highlighted the troubling trend of counterfeit medicines making their way into the legitimate pharmaceutical supply chains.

The research, supported by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), looked at the global impact:



Fake medicines claim up to 100,000 lives annually and actually make people sicker. In the case of MDR-TB, they contribute to broader public health concerns by causing drug resistance. The research pointed out that these fake medicines affect treatments of every disease and 52% of them are medicines that, when effective, can save lives.

Such a widespread problem requires global solutions. The study suggests creating a system that allows for centralized global supply chain reporting and issuing “graded best practices” – which will make a huge difference.

These recommendations will be a great start, but there’s still need for continued collaboration. As Gaurvika Nayyar, a program manager for the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention noted in a recent article, “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Together, we can work to ensure that people around the world have access to the safe, effective medicines they need to live healthier, more actives lives.