(The widespread problem of counterfeit pharmaceuticals on the market)
According to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations:
“Trade in counterfeit drugs is widespread and affects both developing and developed countries.
All medicines are subject to counterfeiting, both branded and generic.
Counterfeit drugs are found under different forms, including:
Products with the correct ingredients (but often with incorrect quantities of active ingredients,
or time-expired active ingredients, creating an increased risk of drug resistance.
The product may also have been relabeled, which can lead to allergic reactions and harmful interactions with other drugs);
Products with the wrong ingredients (possibly toxic and therefore directly harmful to patients);
Products without active ingredient (leaving patients at risk as their disease is left without treatment)
It is virtually impossible to tell the difference between real and fake medicines.
Taking for granted that the drugs can be trusted, patients, doctors and other medical staff often do not even suspect that there is anything wrong with their medicines.
However, not only is it in most cases hard to detect suspicious products, but there is also a lack of public awareness about counterfeit drugs and their seemingly uncontrolled
presence on the market. As a consequence, medicines that do not work or cause unusual side-effects are rarely even reported,
since symptoms (including deaths) are usually attributed to the disease. From a judicial perspective, prosecution is complicated
by the fact that the evidence of counterfeiting is consumed.”