The Dangers of Counterfeit Medicines

Counterfeit medicines are a serious public health risk. They are not inspected by regulatory authorities and are often manufactured illegally in unsanitary conditions. Their sources are unknown and their contents are disreputable.

Counterfeit medicines pose a danger to patient safety as they may contain toxic ingredients, such as boric acid, floor polish and leaded road-paint. They are never safe to use and taking them can be fatal.

Unfortunately, the counterfeiting business is growing. Global criminal networks produce and distribute counterfeits in all major therapeutic areas, in all major geographic areas, and in more than 100 countries. Counterfeit medicine sales generated an estimated $200billion USD in illicit profits in 2016 alone.

Lilly’s Anti-Counterfeit Initiatives

Lilly is committed to advancing medical innovation while maintaining the best standards of product quality to ensure the safety of patients.

Lilly aims to take all necessary actions to safeguard public health. We have an internal global anti-counterfeiting team who investigate suspected counterfeit Lilly products. Procedures are in place to identify manufacturing and distribution trends to deter illegal activity.

No single entity can stop counterfeiting. That's why Lilly is partnering with global government regulatory and law enforcement agencies, along with other pharmaceutical companies, to deliver a global anti-counterfeiting strategy that ensures patient safety.

Meanwhile, we continue to support international educational efforts by joining forces with non-governmental organisations such as the World Health Organization, World Health Professionals Association and World Customs Organisation, to warn patients and healthcare professionals about the dangers of buying medicines from non-traditional outlets.

If you or your patients are in possession of any Lilly medicine that you suspect could be counterfeit, call Lilly Medical Information immediately:


1800 4 LILLY
 (1800 454 559) or take the products to your local pharmacist for safe disposal.

New Zealand:
0800 500 056 or take the products to your local pharmacist for safe disposal.

If you are a patient and have any concerns about any pharmaceutical product you have taken, consult your healthcare practitioner immediately.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regularly issues safety alerts about counterfeit medicines that may have been unknowingly purchased by consumers via the internet or overseas. 

Click here to find out more.

PP-MG-AU-0098 05/2024