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.