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Saturday 14 June 2014

Fake Drugs in Nigeria: SANOFI champions Global Anti-Counterfeit Day 2014

The problem of counterfeit medicine is not a new one but it is a growingworldwide criminal trend that poses a real danger for patient health. Compounding the problem is the fact that it is no longer just about lifestyle products, medicines for treating chronic and serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases or cancer can now be counterfeited.

In the recent Sanofi Fights Against Counterfeit Medicines Report, Sanofi’s Dr. Caroline Atlani, director, anti-counterfeiting coordination says: “They don’t contain the expected amount of active ingredient and they don’t meet any of the standard requirements for quality, efficiency and safety,” Atlani continues: “So patients run a number of risks: besides the presence of toxic substances, these medicine can be inactive and cause major adverse effects and complications for patients.”

While the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10 to 15 percent of the global drug supply is fake, in Africa fake medicines may account for up to 30% of medicines in circulation. “The general public is not really aware of the existence of counterfeit medicines and the risks they may incur in certain purchasing situations,” says Atlani in the 2014 report.

A newly released Sanofi commissioned European consumer opinion survey of 5,010 people shows that very few of the Europeans surveyed associate the term ‘counterfeiting’ with medicines (20%).


While the majority (66%) have heard of medicine counterfeiting, respondents seem to have little information on the issue of counterfeit medicines: 77% of those surveyed feel they do not receive sufficient information about counterfeit medicines. 84% of those surveyed say they have never seen or identified a counterfeit drug although there is a consensus among Europeans about the danger of counterfeit medicines insofar as 96% believe that counterfeit medicine can be and are probably dangerous. These results confirm the need to continue our fight against drug counterfeiting, especially by raising public awareness.

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