Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Counterfeiting Around the World

During the years that we have been actively campaigning against the use of counterfeit drugs, The Peterson Group, a non-profit online organization working with the World Health Organization (WHO), private companies and public institutes in an effort of stopping fraudulent acts on production, manufacture, importation and exportation of counterfeit medicines, has been repeatedly asked which city or country has the highest rate of the illegal use of these products. Honestly, we do not have a definite answer as the statistics have been fluctuating especially in developing nations. Fortunately, the number of scams in the industry has dropped low on the first quarter of 2015 but is not expected to disappear in a long time.

With the help of WHO and the International Medical Products Anti-trafficking Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT), TPG was able to gather information from some individual countries all over the world:

Dominican Republic

The Public Health Department reported that 50% of the pharmacies operate illegally and that, according to the statistics, 10% of the medicines that arrive in the country are fake. Some of the medicines found have expired over 10 years ago.

El Salvador

INQUIFAR, the association of pharmaceutical companies in El Salvador, has denounced the widespread availability of counterfeit drugs on the domestic market. According to the local drug-maker Gamma Laboratorios, the commercialization of counterfeit medicines currently generates economic losses of around $40 million per year to the country's pharmaceutical industry.


The International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group (IPMG) in Indonesia has estimated that pirated drugs constitute 25% of Indonesia’s $2 billion pharmaceutical market. According to IPMG’s vice chairman, those fake drugs hit foreign pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines and pose a potential serious public health threat. Black markets in Jakarta are now being under surveillance by international representative after some complaints that local authorities have permitted fraudsters to sell in plain sight.


A random survey by the National Quality Control Laboratories (NQCL) and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board found the almost 30% of drugs in Kenya are counterfeit. Some of the drugs are no more than just chalk or water being marketed as competent pharmaceutical products. According to figures from the Kenyan Association of Pharmaceutical Industry, counterfeit pharmaceutical products account for approximately $130 million annually in sales in the country.

The discovery of using paper to identify counterfeited medicines is now under process and will soon be releasing results.


China’s Research and Development-based Pharmaceutical Association estimated that about 8% of over-the-counter drugs sold in China are counterfeit.

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