What is Spot The Fake

Why Spot the Fake?

  • The epidemic counterfeit medicines has reached global proportions with sales of counterfeit medicines estimated at $75 billion globally in 2010. Counterfeiters seek to exploit patients’ trust to garner huge profits and supply contaminated medicines at low cost. Growing evidence indicates that counterfeit medicines are used to fund terrorist organizations and organized crime2.

What are counterfeit medicines? 3

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines counterfeit medicines as "medication which is deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity and/or source. Counterfeiting can apply to both branded and generic products and counterfeit products may include products with the correct ingredients or with the wrong ingredients, without active ingredients, with insufficient active ingredients or with fake packaging."

  • Because counterfeit medications are unregulated – they may contain harmful ingredients including3 :
    • Products without active ingredients
    • Products with incorrect quantities of active ingredients
    • Products with wrong ingredients
    • Products with correct quantities of active ingredients but with fake packaging
    • Products with high levels of impurities and contaminants - such as boric acid, paint, floor polish, heavy metals, nickel, arsenic, brick dust4
  • COUNTERFEIT MEDICINES CAN AND DO KILL: The presence of toxic chemicals cause injury or death. Inadequate amounts of medicinal ingredients reduce the effectiveness of drugs. Without the correct amount of medicinal ingredients, viruses, parasites or bacteria can develop resistance to medication and become difficult to treat5
  • More than one million people die each year due to counterfeit drugs6.
  • Counterfeit medicines is a serious issue in Malaysia with the Emerging Markets Health Network estimating that about 5 percent of medicines in Malaysia are counterfeit7. With so many men and women in Malaysia at risk – it is important that we empower ourselves with knowledge and take steps to protect ourselves against counterfeit medications!

What is Spot the Fake?

  • The Spot the Fake Alliance is an initiative by Pfizer Malaysia together with the support of the Ministry of Health, the Malaysian Urological Association (MUA) and Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) which aims to highlight the importance of being able to spot the difference between fake medication and original medication.
  • The Spot the Fake Alliance wants to educate consumers on the importance of ensuring the authenticity of your medicines and building a community of discerning patients.
  • The Spot The Fake Campaign features:
    • Educational Website with interactive games
    • Shareable Infographic
  1. World Health Organization. Growing threat from counterfeit medicines. Available from: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/88/4/10-020410/en/
  2. Finlay, 2011. Counterfeit Drugs and National Security. Available at http://www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/Full_-_Counterfeit_Drugs_and_National_Security.pdf
  3. World Health Organization. General Information on Counterfeit Medication. Available at: http://www.who.int/medicines/services/counterfeit/overview/en/
  4. Pfizer Global Security Handbook (2007). Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals: A Serious Threat to Patient Safety
  5. Morris & Stevens, 2006. Counterfeit Medicines in less developed countries, problems and solutions. Available at:http://www.hks.harvard.edu/index.php/content/download/70550/1255010/version/1/file/Morris_Stevens.pdf
  6. Counterfeit drugs kill 1 million annually: Interpol [Online] Accessed: 19 May 2014 at http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/counterfeit-drugs-kill-1-million-annually-interpol
  7. Astro Awani, 5 percent of medicines in Malaysia are counterfeit. Retrieved from: http://english.astroawani.com/malaysia-news/five-cent-medicines-malaysia-are-counterfeit-pfizer-48197 )

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