Fight the Fakes

Protecting both patients (and the public in general) and health systems from fake medicines by giving a voice to people impacted by these dangerous products.
Academia or research institute 3
Professional and Trade Associations 14
Private Foundation or Development Organization 2
Generic Manufacturers 1
Global NGOs 10
Logistics and Supply Chain 1
Technology 1
Other Business Sector 1
Product Development Partnerships 1
Pharma Company Foundation 1
  • To increase awareness among the global health community and the general public on the dangers of falsified medicines via social media and media coverage.
  • To advocate for legislative strengthening and more robust action to tackle falsified medicines targeting global, regional and national policymakers by leveraging the power of the coalition through partners networks and aligning activities.

What are the health needs and challenges?

The negative impacts of fake medicines are widespread and the environment in which the manufacture, transportation, distribution, and consumption of these maliciously manufactured products take place is complex. Falsifying medicines is a public health threat and a crime against patients. Though it is a challenge to measure the scope of these dangerous products, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in ten medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries is either substandard or falsified.

The majority of substandard and falsified medicines (42%) stem from sub-Saharan Africa, followed by 21% from the Americas and 21% from the European region. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Given patchy reporting, it is highly likely that these figures represent just a small proportion of the problem.

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. Estimates show that 72 000 to 169 000 children may die each year from pneumonia due to substandard and falsified antibiotics.

Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

In response to this challenge, Fight the Fakes was set up to protect both patients (and the public in general) and health systems from fake medicines by giving a voice to people impacted by these dangerous products. This will happen through creating a movement of like-minded organizations and individuals and promoting opportunities for actions against fake medicines. As part of this campaign members are creating a website to foster alignment, and to facilitate the development and distribution of information and digital tools to disseminate key stories and information about the danger and impact of fake medicines.

Addressing this complicated public health threat requires coordinated actions and leadership by all relevant actors. Through partner relationships with other organizations currently combating fake medicines around the world, members will work to exchange knowledge and insights and align activities in order to increase the effectiveness of this global campaign.

"Awareness raising and global patient empowerment are at the heart of what we do. Addressing falsified medicines requires general education and knowledge of the dangers."
Jolanta Bilińska
Chair of the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations
"We firmly support the actions to achieve a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of the falsification of medicines, to educate the public on the issue and to create a network of exchange of expertise."
Andreas Walter
EMVO General Manager
"Falsified and substandard medicines were widely discussed during the 2018 World Health Assembly, which demonstrates the increasing global awareness to fight fake medicines."
Thomas Cueni
Former Director General, IFPMA
Results and milestones

Specific actions of Fight the Fakes include:

  • Aligning the actions of allied organizations engaged in combating fake medicines at the national, regional, and/or international level in order to most effectively leverage the unique resources, access points, and insights that each organization possesses. II.
  • Provide a hub for tools and information about the danger and impact of fake medicines in communities around the world. Its social media channels will play a key role in disseminating stories.
  • Assisting partners of the campaign in providing and disseminate information to the general public, patients, healthcare professionals, decisionmakers and media about the harm caused by fake medicines, and outline opportunities for action at the local, national, and international levels.
  • Highlighting the real harm fake medicines have on individuals and the extent of the impact fake medicines have worldwide. Fight the Fakes will leverage existing networks across campaign members and allies to collect and disseminate key stories and information to policymakers and newsmakers around the world. The Fight the Fakes website will act as an aggregator for stories collected by campaign members. Fight the Fakes members will create tools that favor empowerment and induce behavioral change.
Geographic Reach
  • Global Commitment
Disease Area
  • Other
  • Non-communicable diseases
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • Children
  • Men
  • Youth
  • Elderly
Partner organizations
Academia or research institute

International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines

Pharmaceutical Security Institute

University College London

Professional and Trade Associations

International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)

Medicines for Europe

European Healthcare Distribution Association

International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

International Council of Nurses (ICN)

Rx-360 International Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Consortium

U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention

World Medical Association (WMA)

Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA)

European Medicines Verification Organisation (EMVO)

Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM)

International Pharmaceutical Students' Federation (IPSF)

International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW)

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)

Private Foundation or Development Organization

Dutch Malaria Foundation

Fondation Chirac

Generic Manufacturers

Mylan Laboratories Limited (a Viatris Group company)

Global NGOs

Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP)

Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy in the EU (ASOP EU)

Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)

Malaria Consortium

Partnership for Safe Medicines

Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM)

World Heart Federation

Active Citizenship Network (ACN) / Cittadinanzattiva

International Alliance of Patients' Organizations (IAPO)

NCD Alliance

Logistics and Supply Chain




Other Business Sector


Product Development Partnerships

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)

Pharma Company Foundation

The Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF)