Here are the results of my search for information about counterfeit
drugs. It is difficult to get consistent information by country or
region so I?ve provided you with everything I could find. There some
international initiatives under the sponsorship of the World Health
Organization as well as national and regional tracking and law
enforcement efforts. The standards and record-keeping are not
consistent worldwide so you will have to piece together the
information you need from the diverse reports available.
It is clear that counterfeit drugs and medicines are a much bigger
problem in less developed countries (LDCs) than in developed areas
where controls and law enforcement are more effective.
My research also shows that pharmaceutical companies closely guard the
information they have about their drugs that are counterfeited. The
information available by brand name is very limited. Although I
haven?t found much on specific dollar value of counterfeiting of
specific brands, the latest trend is movement away from counterfeiting
lifestyle drugs to counterfeiting life sustaining medications.
I trust that the information I?ve found will be useful. Please don?t
hesitate to ask for clarifications.
All the best.
~ czh ~
March 14, 2005 -- The Global Threat of Counterfeit Drugs: Why Industry
and Governments Must Communicate the Dangers
In this article we suggest that many pharmaceutical companies and
governments are reluctant to publicize the problem to health staff and
the public, apparently motivated by the belief that the publicity will
harm the sales of brand-name products in a fiercely competitive
Most of the literature on fake drugs derives from local investigative
journalism with little scientific public health enquiry relative to
the enormous scale of this criminal enterprise.
Most data on the epidemiology of counterfeit drugs are kept secret by
the pharmaceutical industry and by governmental agencies. Drug
companies employ investigators to track down and facilitate the
shutting down of counterfeit industries, but this occurs very much in
There are no reliable accessible databases whereby health workers or
the public can access current details of which products are being
faked in a locality. It is obviously correct that information on
anti-counterfeiting strategies and the sources of undercover
intelligence should not be released, but we believe that the
information on what drug is being counterfeited, and where, should be
Chris Jenkins, a founding member of the PSI, now Associate Director of
Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations, told us (E-mail statement, 9
December 2004), ?It is necessary to keep fake drug information
confidential for commercial reasons?to avoid media leaks and to
prevent the possibility of rival drug companies taking unfair
commercial advantage of a victim company.?
February 2006 -- Counterfeit medicines
Until recently, the most frequently counterfeited medicines in wealthy
countries were new, expensive lifestyle medicines, such as hormones,
steroids and antihistamines. In developing countries the most
counterfeited medicines have been those used to treat life-threatening
conditions such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. As the
phenomenon spreads, more and more medicines are counterfeited,
including expensive ones, such as anti-cancer drugs, and those highly
in demand, such as antivirals.
? estimates put counterfeits at more than 10% of the global medicines market
An estimated 25% of the medicines consumed in developing countries are
believed to be counterfeit. In some countries, the figure is thought
to be as high as 50%.
A World Health Organization (WHO) survey of counterfeit medicine
reports from 20 countries between January 1999 to October 2000 found
that 60% of counterfeit medicine cases occurred in poor countries and
40% in industralized countries.
Peru?s Ministry of Health estimates that illegal sales of medicines
account for 15-20% of the local market.
A recent study in The Lancet concluded that up to 40% of products
labelled as containing artusenate (the best medicine to combat malaria
today) contain no active ingredients and therefore have no therapeutic
June 14, 2006, Worldwide Market for Counterfeit Goods: $650 billion
The World Health Organization guesses that 25% of the medicines sold
in developing countries (and perhaps 8%-10% of medicine sold
worldwide) are counterfeit, implying a $32 billion international
counterfeit medicine business.
Counterfeiting rates are low in rich countries, but the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration was nonetheless investigating 58 counterfeit
medicine cases in 2004 -- up from fewer than ten cases a year during
the 1990s -- and the European Commission has found at least 170
different counterfeit medicines circulating in Europe.
Counterfeiters finding a big market for drugs -- MARCH 16, 2006
Counterfeit drugs generate about $32 billion a year in revenue.
Frequently counterfeited drugs include
-- obesity treatment Reductil, made by Abbott Laboratories
-- copies of the impotence drug Cialis, made by Eli Lilly
-- phony versions of the cholesterol drug Lipitor, made by Pfizer
-- fake Viagra, the impotence treatment made by Pfizer
-- counterfeit Tamiflu copying product from Roche Holdings
FDA COUNTERFEIT DRUG TASK FORCE REPORT: 2006 UPDATE
? counterfeiting is quite rare within the U.S. drug distribution
system because of the extensive scheme of federal and state regulatory
oversight and the steps taken by drug manufacturers, distributors, and
pharmacies, to prevent counterfeit drugs from entering the system.
Combating Counterfeit Drugs: A Report of the Food and Drug
Administration Annual Update -- May 18, 2005
In 2004, FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) initiated 58
counterfeit drug cases, a significant increase from the 30 cases
initiated in 2003. ? Although the number of counterfeit drug cases has
increased and the threat to the public health is real, most of the
suspect counterfeits that we discovered in 2004 were found in smaller
quantities, compared to those found in 2003. Most of these drugs were
destined for the black market or internet distribution, rather than
for widespread distribution in the nation's drug supply chain.
March 3, 2006
In developed countries, counterfeiters target brand name drugs that
are used in high volume and are high priced. In developing countries,
the counterfeiters also target generic drugs that are used in high
volume for widespread diseases that plague the public health in those
It has been estimated in the press that 8 to 10 percent of the global
medicine supply chain is counterfeit ? a figure that rises to 25
percent or higher in some countries.
Counterfeit Drug Sales Predicted to Grow -- 9/13/2005
The Center for Medicines in the Public Interest released a report
projecting counterfeit drug sales to reach $75 billion in 2010, a 92%
increase from 2005.
Pitts? new study estimates counterfeit drug sales will grow 13%
annually through 2010, compared to 7.5% estimated annual growth for
global pharmaceutical commerce.
?Nearly $39 billion, or 11% of global pharmaceutical commerce will be
counterfeit this year,"
Counterfeit Drug Sales to Reach $75 Billion by 2010, Report Says
According to a 1997 report from the World Health Organization (WHO),
10 to 20 percent of drugs tested in developing countries failed the
most basic quality test, meaning the medicines are either counterfeit
or they have not been handled according to manufacturer
According to a June 2005 study by the European Federation of
Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), 50 percent of the
entire pharmaceutical sales market in Pakistan consists of counterfeit
medicines, similar to the situation in China and Nigeria.
The largest counterfeit market with proximity to the EU free trade
zone is Russia, where the generally accepted estimate is that 12
percent of the nation's drugs are counterfeit.
Sept. 26, 2005 -- Counterfeit Drugs will double by 2010
Peter J. Pitts ? Counterfeit drug sales are growing at nearly twice
the rate of those for genuine pharmaceutical products, according to a
report by former FDA Associate Commissioner for External Relations
Peter Pitts, Center for Medicines in the Public Interest, Pacific
Research: 21st Century Health Care Terrorism: The Perils of
International Drug REPORT
[See table on page 4 for Global Pharmaceutical Commerce Estimates
(legal and counterfeit) through 2010.]
Counterfeit Medicines and LDCs: Problems and Solutions
Counterfeit medicines in less developed countries: Problems and solutions
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 25 per cent of all
medicines in LDCs are counterfeit.
In some countries, the prevalence is far higher:
-- Counterfeit medicines constitute between 40 and 50 per cent of
total supply in Nigeria and Pakistan.
-- In China, authorities have found that some products have a
counterfeit prevalence ranging between 50 and 85 per cent.
-- 36.5 per cent of antibiotics and anti-malarials on WHO essential
drugs list in Thailand and Nigeria are substandard (Shakoor et al,
-- A recent survey by the WHO of seven African countries found that
between 20 and 90 per cent of all anti-malarials failed quality
testing. These included chloroquine-based syrup and tablets, whose
failure rate range from 23 to 38 per cent; and sulphadoxine /
pyrimethamine tablets, up to 90 per cent of which were found to be
The top five counterfeited medicines in the Philippines provide some
illustration of this point:
1. Antihypertensive drugs (Adalat Gits 30mg Tablet)
2. Anti-asthma drugs (Ventolin Expectorant syrup)
3. Analgesic medicines (Ponstan 500)
4. Anti-diarrhoea (Diatabs Reformulated),
5. Vitamins (Propan with Iron Capsule, Ceelin 100 mg/
5 ml Syrup, Enervon C and Iberet 500
Other favourites for counterfeiting include drugs for treating
anaemia, HIV, schizophrenia, as well as growth promotion hormone (used
in the treatment of HIV).
September 20, 2005 -- Health Care Forum Speaker Presentations
-- An antibiotic derived from penicillin, Amoxycillin, is the most
counterfeited medicine worldwide.
-- In many South-East Asian countries approximately 10% of the
medicines on the market counterfeit.
-- In Pakistan, estimates about the private sector suggest about 50%
of the market being constituted by counterfeit.
-- In Indonesia the average has been estimated to 8%.
-- In China, authorities have found that for some products, the
estimated average of counterfeit copies can be as high as 50%,
reaching 85% for some brands.
-- In a survey carried out in Nigeria, 50% of the products on the
market were described as useless.
-- In Italy, authorities arrested participants in an international
organized criminal enterprise partly based in the country (July,
2000). Nearly one quarter million units of counterfeit medicines were
seized together with two tons of raw materials. Originated from India
and China, the materials were repackaged in Europe for resale in the
Americas. This confirms that counterfeit medicines are a global
-- In Russia, health authorities estimate that counterfeit medicines
make up 5 to 10% of the total amount of medicines on the marke
November 20, 2005 -- Pharmaceutical companies feeling potent effect of fakes
In August and September, Chinese and U.S. authorities arrested 12
people and seized $4.3 million in fake drugs during an unusual joint
sting. In Operation Cross Ocean, a tip from Pfizer and Eli Lilly & Co.
led investigators to an operation that made Viagra's active ingredient
in central China, packaged fake pills in the port city of Tianjin, and
shipped them to Washington state. Counterfeit Cialis and Lipitor also
Whatever the mix of motives, counterfeiting is spreading from potency
and diet drugs into remedies that are essential to the health of
millions. In 2003, authorities in Asia seized 1.5million bogus
versions of Norvasc, up from 4,000 tablets seized in 2002. In 2001
alone, 192,000 people died as a result of counterfeit drugs, according
to a Temple University study.
Most of the attention focuses on Abbott's weight-loss drug Meridia,
called Reductil in Asia.
Total street value of the seized Viagra, Lipitor and Norvasc:
$5million, Gabor said.
Sales of the world's leading erectile dysfunction drug reached only $5
million in China last year--a small tally in a country of 1.2 billion
people. In the U.S., Pfizer sold Viagra tablets valued at nearly $900
million, more than half the drug's $1.7 billion in sales.
Why are China's sales so small? In part, it's because cut-rate
counterfeits and imitators are so widespread. And in part it's because
Pfizer is caught in a battle for control of the trademark to its own
Pfizer -- Threats of Counterfeits
Pfizer faces a serious threat of counterfeit drugs. The World Health
Organization estimates that in 2005 there was $40B in counterfeit drug
sales. "In March 2005, the findings of an investigative study
conducted by PloS Medicine, a peer-reviewed, open-access health
journal, showed that one out of seven drugs sold globally is a fake.
This estimate suggests that fake drugs comprise of 15% or $35 billion
of the global medicine market".
Counterfeit Medicines: Some Frequently Asked Questions -May 2005
Which countries are the worst affected?
The problem affects many countries. Probably 60% of all cases are in
developing countries, 40% in the West.
What genuine drugs are most copied?
Fake artesunate is on the market in most Greater Mekong region
countries, suggesting a regional network of counterfeiters. In some
countries in repeated surveys the % of counterfeits was above 20% of
the examined batches.
Other commonly counterfeited drugs include antibiotics, vitamins, pain
killers, hormones and steroids ? products that are either popular or
where the genuine product is too expensive for the poor.
counterfeit medicine OR drugs losses millions
most often counterfeited drugs OR medicines