According to the WHO, 1% of medicine available in developed countries are likely to be fraudulent. In developing countries and some areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America, this figure can attain 10% (30% for pharmaceuticals). On the Internet, 1 medicine in 2 would be counterfeited still according to WHO.
Risks are high in all events. Either the medicine does not contain any active substance, or it is wrongly measured out or the substances are very toxic. For the sick people, the use of this type of medicine could cause disastrous consequences. As proof, fake cough syrups were made with… solvent, killing 200 children in Africa. At the same time, other counterfeiting products are under dosed in active substances or even worse have none, as it was the case in 1995, in Niger, where fake vaccines against meningitis were distributed, allowing 2500 people to death.
Although counterfeiting medicine are generally located in developing countries, developed countries do not escape this fact which is not new. In 2007, 40% of counterfeiting medicine were in developed areas.
French pharmacies are still a protected zone
Thanks to the quality of French health system and the solidity of the regulation managing pharmaceutical activities like the repayment of prescription medicine, pharmacies are less concerned by the counterfeiting problem.