When most people hear the word counterfeiting, they think of fashion, but as Bruce Longbottom of Eli Lilly and Company explains, drugs are a key target too.
When you think of counterfeit goods, what comes to mind? Many would say fake purses, fake watches and other similar products you might find being hawked on street corners. What about counterfeit drugs? Would counterfeiters dare to enter such a highly regulated industry? Or attempt to replicate a product that is potentially life-changing and even life-saving, and so difficult to manufacture and distribute safely and correctly? Sadly, yes—drugs are among the many types of products targeted by counterfeiters.
Across the planet, drugs in all major therapeutic categories have been counterfeited. Annual counterfeit drug sales were estimated to generate $200 billion in 2011. And incidences of counterfeit medicines continue to rise on a global level as the technology to copy drugs and to reach patients advances.
Genuine medicines are manufactured and packaged under strict regulations to meet quality standards that ensure safety and efficacy. Counterfeit drugs are manufactured outside of that safety net, may be contaminated, or may contain the wrong active ingredients, harmful ingredients, or no active ingredients—all of which compromise the drugs’ safety and efficacy.
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counterfeiting, pharmaceuticals, NABP, FDA