Buyer Beware: Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals

According to the World Health Organization, at least one in 10 medical products sold in developing countries is falsified. Not only is this a waste of money for people who take these medicines, but it is also a risk to their health and lives. 

This time, scammers are stepping up their game to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, the WHO already reported the exposure of the "BNT162b2" vaccine detected in Mexico and confirmed as falsified. Large batches of the counterfeit antiviral drug Remdesivir were seized in April in a number of Indian cities, hit by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Delhi police officer Monika Bhardwaj points out the differences in the packaging between the original and counterfeit drugs on her Twitter page.

The severity of the problem of counterfeit drugs cannot be overemphasized. Model studies developed by the University of Edinburgh estimate that 72,000 to 169,000 children may be dying each year from pneumonia due to substandard and falsified antibiotics. 

Not only do counterfeit pharmaceuticals harm public health, but they also damage a country’s economy and violate intellectual property rights of manufacturers.