Fight the Fakes

Partnership objectives

  1. To raise the profile of the danger of fake medicines at a global level
  2. Share the stories of people that have been impacted by fake medicines and of those that are working against this threat to public health
  3. Create a website to serve as an information hub about fake medicines for patients, healthcare providers, regulatory officials and the media
  4. Outline opportunities and align action in combatting fake medicines worldwide 

Fight the Fakes is a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of fake medicines. Fight the Fakes is a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of fake medicines. Copyright Malaria Consortium

What are the health needs and challenges?

Fake medicines put patients and the general public at risk. Patients believe they are receiving genuine treatment, but instead they are getting potentially dangerous products that could increase resistance to real treatments, and cause further illness, disability or even death. Though it is a challenge to measure the scope of these dangerous products, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that fake medicines can account for up to 10% of medicines in the supply chain globally, and up to 30% of the drug supply chain in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Fake medicines may contain the wrong ingredients, the wrong dose, or no active ingredients at all; they can be long-standing or new medicines, over-the-counter or prescription, branded or generic. In some cases they contain dangerous substances and poisons including mercury, antifreeze, paint and rat poison.

Fake medicines used to treat communicable diseases such as malaria can also undermine entire public health initiatives by exposing communities to greater drug resistance. In Southeast Asia and sub Saharan Africa, 35% of anti-malarials failed chemical analysis, jeopardizing progress and investments in combatting this disease.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

 Fight the Fakes is a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of fake medicines. The campaign gives a voice to those who have been personally impacted and shares the stories of those working to put a stop to this threat to public health. It seeks to build a global movement of organizations and individuals who will shine light on the negative impact that fake medicines have on people around the globe and to reduce the negative consequences on individuals worldwide.

Fight the Fakes partners endorse the campaign and share the belief that coordination among all actors involved in the manufacturing and distribution of medicines is vital to tackle this public health threat.

As part of this effort, Fight the Fakes is collecting resources and updates on this issue and is encouraging the public to help speak up and spread the word about this threat to patients. The website also serves as a resource for organizations and individuals who are looking to support this effort by outlining opportunities for action and sharing what others are doing to fight fake medicines.

Fight the Fakes looks to the leadership of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Member State Mechanism on substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products in guiding the direction of the campaign.

Since its launch in November 2013, Fight the Fakes has grown from 10 founding members to 33 partner organisations. This includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, research institutes, NGOs and foundations, coalitions for consumer protection, product development partnerships (PDPs), disease-specific organizations, mobile app services, wholesalers and the researched-based and generic pharmaceutical industries. The Fight the Fakes website serves as a hub for resources about fake medicines, for updates on news, developments and technology, and for ‘stories from the frontline.’

The campaign has been represented by partners at events on drug regulation, malaria eradication, anti-counterfeiting, the role of the media in public health and the 69th World Health Assembly.   

Fight the Fakes has a growing presence on social media and has established itself as a key player in worldwide efforts against counterfeit medicines. 


Watch out for False Friends

Message from John C. Lechleiter, IFPMA President

Partnership information

Company(ies) IFPMA

Partner(s) Active Citizenship Network, Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy in the EU (ASOP EU), Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), Dutch Malaria Foundation, European Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (GIRP), European Healthcare Distribution Association, Fondation Chirac, Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), Global Pharma Health Fund, International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers, International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers, International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines, International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), International Pharmaceutical Students Federation, Malaria Consortium, Medicines for Europe, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Mobilium, Mylan, NCD Alliance, Partnership for Safe Medicines, Pharmaceutical Security Institute, PharmaSecure, PSM India, Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), Rx-360 International Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Consortium, Sproxil, U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, University College London, World Heart Federation, World Medical Association (WMA)

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Generic Manufacturers, Multilaterals, NGOs, Other Business, PDPs, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Neglected Tropical Diseases, Non-Communicable Diseases, Mental and Neurological Disorders, Women and Children's Health, Other, Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) Arthritis & Osteoperosis, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cervical Cancer, Children's Health, Depression, Diabetes, Diseases of the Nervous System, Epilepsy, Family Planning, Sexual & Reproductive Health, General Health, Haemophilia, HIV/AIDS, Hypertension, Leukemia, Lymphatic Filariasis, Malaria, Mental Disorders, Mental Health, Neurological Disorders, Onchocerciasis (River Blindness), Respiratory Diseases, Schistosomiasis, Schizophrenia, Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis, Tuberculosis, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Patient Safety & Medicines Quality, Health System Infrastructure - mHealth, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, Elderly, General population, Health professionals, Men, Mothers, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, North America, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 182

Country(ies) Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2013

More information Fight the Fakes website

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« It is up to all of us – working together – to make the voices of those who have suffered from fake medicines or who are engaged in the fight against fake medicines heard around the world. »

Eduardo Pisani, Director General of IFPMA