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Fight the Fakes

Active Since: 2013

Contributing to SDGs…

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

    International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines

    University College London

    Pharmaceutical Security Institute

  • Global NGOs

    Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP)

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

    Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)

    Partnership for Safe Medicines

    Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM)

    World Heart Federation

    Active Citizenship Network (ACN) / Cittadinanzattiva

    International Alliance of Patients' Organizations (IAPO)

    Partnership for Safe Medicines

    Malaria Consortium

    NCD Alliance

  • Pharma company foundation

    The Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF)

  • Private foundation or development organization

    Dutch Malaria Foundation

    Fondation Chirac

  • Product development partnerships

    Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)

  • Professional and trade associations

    World Medical Association (WMA)

    Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA)

    European Medicines Verification Organisation (EMVO)

    Medicines for Europe

    European Healthcare Distribution Association

    Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM)

    International Council of Nurses (ICN)

    International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

    International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)

    International Pharmaceutical Students' Federation (IPSF)

    International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW)

    National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)

    Rx-360 International Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Consortium

    U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention

  • Generic manufacturers

    Mylan Laboratories Limited (a Viatris Group company)

  • Logistics and supply chain


  • Technology


  • Other business sector



  • 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
IFPMA Director General


SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

  1. 3.2: Reduce Under-5 Mortality 
  2. 3.4: NCDs (including mental health)
  3. 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 


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.