Counterfeit drugs are dangerous. Counterfeit drugs may include products without active ingredients, with incorrect quantities of active ingredients, wrong ingredients, correct quantities of active ingredients but with fake packaging or high levels of impurities and contaminants. They may also be illegal copies of an original product.
Counterfeit drugs pose public health risks, and because they are manufactured illegally in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, their sources are unknown and their contents are unreliable.
Examples of harmful ingredients found in counterfeit drugs include arsenic, boric acid, brick dust, cement powder, chalk dust, floor polish, leaded road paint, nickel, shoe polish (to produce the sheen on the tablet) and talcum powder.
Contrary to the marketing efforts of counterfeiters, counterfeit drugs are not “generic” versions of branded medicines. Generic medicines are approved by government regulators (such as the FDA) while counterfeits are not. Both branded and generic medicines can be counterfeit. These include medicines to treat viruses, infections, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease, anti-malarials and erectile dysfunction (ED), among others.
There are no good, quality counterfeit drugs. Counterfeit drugs have caused serious injury – and even death – around the globe.
Counterfeiting is big business. Counterfeit drug sales generated an estimated $75 billion USD in 2010.
Counterfeiters are criminals who operate globally, flourish in both developed and developing countries, and have little regard for public health and safety. Many counterfeiters employ sophisticated printing and packaging operations, while manufacturing products in filthy conditions. Counterfeiting involves a global network of producers, distributors and sellers.
No single entity can completely wipe out counterfeiting. That is why Lilly is partnering with global government regulatory and law enforcement agencies, other pharmaceutical companies and other parties who want to ensure that patients receive only genuine medicines that are made, distributed and sold by reputable manufacturers and pharmacies that care as much as we do about patient safety.
Each of us plays an important role in the fight against counterfeit medicines.
Counterfeiting is a dangerous global threat Lilly is actively engaged in efforts to combat in order to protect the health and safety of patients and worldwide public health.