The cost of counterfeiting is much more than money. In too many cases, counterfeiting costs human health and in some cases lives. For example, a group of clinics in Sierra Leone were closed last week for allegedly administering counterfeit drugs. Other cases involving online drug sellers have claimed the health and lives of patients who bought from illicit Web sites.

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JDLiang (sm)

The cost of counterfeiting is much more than money.  In too many cases, counterfeiting costs human health and in some cases lives.  For example, a group of clinics in Sierra Leone were closed last week for allegedly administering counterfeit drugs.  Other cases involving online drug sellers have claimed the health and lives of patients who bought from illicit Web sites.   

Recently, the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the Top 10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Counterfeiting and Piracy, contributing to the protection of consumers from the harms of counterfeit goods.  Like many of the recommendations in our Consumer Resources, this list outlines ways consumers can take an active role in protecting themselves from all types of fake goods, including counterfeit drugs, by:

  • Paying attention to questioning labels and packaging
  • Identifying safe sellers, by visiting the U.S. Chamber’s Supply Chain Tool Kit, and for online pharmacies, looking for a seal of accreditation from the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS)
  • Insisting on secure transactions
  • Watching for absent sales tax charges
  • Being cautious when purchasing products from abroad

Added to the S.A.F.E. D.R.U.G. checklist and email alerts, these recommendations can assist patients in protecting themselves from harm.

The primary goal of the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) is to protect consumers from the dangers of contraband and counterfeit drugs.  Only by working together can we prevent the damages inflicted by life-threatening counterfeit drugs.  For more information on protecting yourself from the dangers of counterfeit drugs, visit www.safemedicines.org.