Fake Drugs Have Real Consequences for Patients

Black market medicine is terrible for patients all over the world, including Americans. At best, counterfeit and substandard medicine may not adequately treat a patient's illness. At worst, counterfeit medicines may cause poisoning or death.

Each of the following stories mentions people who have been sickened or died after being treated with fake medicine. Every day, American patients are harmed when they break the closed U.S. drug supply.

Fentanyl Pill Victims Are Getting Younger. Parents Blame Social Media.

June 14, 2021

On June 4, 2021, parents and family members gathered in 30 cities around the country to protest social media companies’ inaction on drug sales on their platforms. The protest in Santa Monica focused on Snapchat headquarters.

New report from DEA says cartels are driving fake pills, and fake pills are driving drug deaths

March 4, 2021

The annual DEA National Threat Assessment, which covers 2019 and the first half of 2020, is the best source of unclassified data on drug smuggling, illicit substance trafficking, and counterfeit medications as it affects Americans. Watch our News of the Week video at right, or read the high points on our Twitter thread.  Below you’ll…

A Campaign to Spread the Word About Fake Pill Deaths in the Central Valley of California

January 13, 2021

When the Central Valley Opioid Safety Commission contacted us about helping them promote a public safety message about the dangers of counterfeit pills made with fentanyl, of course we said yes. Their 30-second spot featured the family of Travis Jacobson, a young Californian who was tragically killed by a fake Xanax pill that turned out to be lethal. We at PSM were happy to underwrite both the direct costs and the labor costs of such an important public health message. 

Team player Taylor Martinek lost his life to a fake oxycodone

January 7, 2021

24-year-old Taylor Martinek died of fentanyl poisoning in 2017, after he took an oxycodone pill that turned out to be counterfeit. Since then, his family has been trying to change Oregon law to increase penalties for dealers who cause deaths like Taylor’s.

Young man in a black shirt in a green outdoor setting

Jake Beddoe Sheltered from COVID-19, Only to Die from Fake Xanax

November 6, 2020

Seeking a good night’s sleep, 25-year-old Jake Beddoe, a young travel consultant with an adventurous heart and a tremendous sense of humor, took part of what he thought was a Xanax pill on May 27, 2020. The pill was counterfeit, and Jake died of fentanyl poisoning.

Counterfeit Pill Takes the Life of a Hardworking College Graduate

August 24, 2020

24-year-old Travis Jacobson was excited about an upcoming job interview. Recently graduated from Sacramento State University, he moved to Los Angeles to live with his best friend Landon and launch a career in public relations. Sadly, Travis never made it to that interview. Wanting a good night’s sleep beforehand, he took a Xanax pill that turned out to be a fake made with fentanyl, and it took his life.

Young man in letter jacket standing in front a wall, wrestling boots, badge and medal alongside him

Life Cut Short for an All-American Kid

August 17, 2020

22-year-old West Haven, Utah resident Jaydon Rogers was an “all-American-kid.” A champion high school wrestler, he had tremendous enthusiasm for all kinds of sports, his family and life. Jaydon died of fentanyl poisoning on March 14, 2018 after he unknowingly took a counterfeit pill.

Rock Roberts opening the Senate briefing

Life-threatening counterfeit drugs taught Rick Roberts that medicine safety can’t be taken for granted

March 25, 2020

Life-threatening counterfeit drugs taught Rick Roberts that medicine safety can’t be taken for granted. Rick Roberts, a professor at the University of San Francisco and a member of The Partnership for Safe Medicines’ Advisory Board, began thinking about the problem of medicine safety after he received two different counterfeit versions of Serostim (human growth hormone)…

Drug Counterfeiters Never Sleep: How Fake Drug Makers and Other Scammers are Exploiting COVID-19

March 18, 2020

“What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. These warning letters are just the first step. We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”

photo of Josh Holton

Tennessean’s Life Cut Short After Following Journalist’s Advice

March 2, 2020

20-year-old Joshua Holton died of fentanyl poisoning in Tennessee after he took Xanax he’d bought online. He’d seen a TED talk online that suggested that users reviews were a reliable way to judge the quality of the drugs they were selling—but they weren’t.