Counterfeit medicines a growing global concern

Medicines Australia joins calls from the global pharmaceutical industry this week for a crackdown against online sales of counterfeit medicines around the world.

“Evidence is emerging of literally thousands of websites operating internationally engaged in the supply of counterfeit medicines. Sadly, it appears that the Asia region accounts for about half of counterfeiting, theft and illegal diversion incidents of pharmaceuticals,” said Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw.

“That’s scary when millions of doses of pills falsely claiming to be antibiotics, anti-cancer, anti-depression, pain killers or treatments for erectile dysfunction from rogue internet sites are finding their way into the marketplace.

“Unsuspecting patients have no idea what potentially toxic or dangerous ingredients lie in counterfeit medicines. Counterfeits have been found to contain everything from arsenic, brick dust, ink and paint.

“Counterfeiting medicines is first and foremost a crime against patients.

“A lot of work by the Australian medicines industry goes into ensuring patients here receive efficacious and genuine medicines they need at an affordable price.  Industry works with the Therapeutic Goods Administration to ensure a reliable supply chain and trusted pharmacy network. That, coupled with Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, provides timely, universal access to prescription medicines in this country.

“We support any initiative that will provide accurate information to health consumers on safe internet pharmacy sites.

“We urge patients not to put themselves or their families at risk by gambling on cheap internet alternatives. The best way to avoid the risk of counterfeit medicines is to get your prescription filled at a community pharmacy.”

A joint statement from  international pharmaceutical associations is available on the websites of: IFPMAPhRMAEFPIA, and JPMA.


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