Patient Advocates Warn of Dangers of Black Market HIV Medicines


On HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, CANN and PSM Remind Patients to Be Vigilant When Purchasing Their Medication

Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2014) – Following HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, two leading advocates are teaming up to better educate patients about the risks of counterfeit or black market HIV/AIDS medicines. Since 2006, 82 individuals have been charged with selling adulterated, unapproved or black market medications prescribed for HIV or AIDS patients.

To increase awareness of the severe health risks posed by counterfeit or black market medicines, the Community Access National Network (CANN) and the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), have released a new resource for the HIV/AIDS community and their doctors. The flyers, available online and in print form, highlight the incidence of black market HIV/AIDS medication since 2006 and offer tips for patients and physicians to ensure they are purchasing legitimate drugs from reputable sources.

“The reality is anti-retroviral medications as a 'street commodity' are very valuable,” summarized Bill Arnold, President & CEO of the Community Access National Network. “Wherever there is a market to make money, there is a concern that these medications are either diverted from the legitimate distribution channel, or even worse, substituted with fake pills that are packaged convincingly and sold into the legitimate distribution channel. Patients and care providers need to remain diligent, and always report anything that looks suspicious.”

“It’s the lowest form of criminal that preys upon HIV/AIDS patients,” said PSM President Marv Shepherd. “With counterfeit and black market medicines being a multibillion dollar industry and growing, patients are increasingly at risk. It’s critical that HIV/AIDS patients and their doctors are armed with all the necessary tools to protect themselves, that’s why PSM is proud to partner with CANN to help educate the community on how to safely source and purchase their medicines.”

About the Community Access National NetworkThe Community Access National Network (CANN) works to improve access to comprehensive medical services for people living with HIV and Hepatitis C. These services must be affordable to the people who need them regardless of insurance status, income, or geographic location.

About the Partnership for Safe MedicinesComprised of more than 70 non-profit organizations, the Partnership for Safe Medicines is a public health group committed to the safety of prescription medicines and protecting consumers against counterfeit, substandard or otherwise unsafe medicines.  PSM can be found on Facebook (, Twitter (@safemedicines), and the web at

Court Documents Related to Black Market HIV Medicine

United States v. Correa

United States v. Lavery

United States v. McFadden

United States v Romanelli and DeTomasis

USA v. Thuna et al