Illicit trade


Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products

This report, one in a series of studies by the OECD and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), enhances understanding of the issues and challenges facing governments, businesses and society posed by the trade in fake pharmaceutical products. Illicit markets for fake pharmaceuticals are attractive for counterfeiters, given the high profit margins, low risks of detection and prosecution, weak penalties, and the ease with which consumers can be deceived into believing that the counterfeit products are genuine. Counterfeit medicines not only cause economic damage for the sector, but are also a significant threat to public health, since fake medicines are often not properly formulated and may contain dangerous ingredients. Fake pharmaceuticals include antibiotics, lifestyle treatments, pain killers, anti-malarial drugs, diabetes treatments and central nervous system medicines.

Published on March 23, 2020

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Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive Summary
Counterfeit pharmaceuticals: scope and data
Industry overview
Mapping the scale of the fake pharmaceutical challenge
The supply chain: marketing, transport and distribution
The push factors behind counterfeit pharmaceuticals
Impact of counterfeit medicines
Efforts to combat counterfeit pharmaceuticals
Concluding remarks
Data and methodology
Additional Tables
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