Today’s guest blog comes from Lilly’s Vice President of International Corporate Affairs, Erin Huntington.
Last week, I had the honor of speaking at the Global Fund’s Replenishment event. Groups from across the private and public sphere gathered to show their continued commitment to defeating AIDS, TB and malaria, and to celebrate the tremendous impact that collaborative partnerships can have on saving lives. I was honored to speak about something close to my heart and incredibly important to us at Lilly: the global fight against fake medicines.
Fake medicines, sometimes called spurious, falsified, falsely labeled, or counterfeit medicines, pose a significant threat to patients. Fake medicines represent up to 10% of the world’s pharmaceutical supply. In some regions of the world, like Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the number reaches a troubling 30%. The very nature of the fake drug trade makes determining its true scope difficult. Every single day, criminal counterfeiting organizations peddle their unsafe products to unsuspecting consumers, taking advantage of populations who need these medicines most. People trust that these medicines can help them, when in fact they can be quite harmful, undermining the goals of the patient, their health system, and the organizations like the Global Fund that aim to reduce major diseases worldwide.
The discovery of innovative treatments for illnesses such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis has helped improve and save lives from New York to New Dehli and they can provide hope for patients all over the world. Yet, for as far as medical innovation has brought us, the spread of fake medicines can undermine the progress we’ve made in combating major disease around the world. For example, if a fake medicine contains the incorrect quantity of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) required to successfully treat the disease, it can create resistance in the population. This can lead to a new, drug-resistant strain of the disease that fails to respond to any current treatment. As we all share the goal of defeating AIDS, TB, malaria, and other disease, worldwide, we must work together to stem the growth of fake medicines and ensure that patients get what they need. By working together and creating innovative partnerships, we can create the best possible chance of tackling this public health crisis.
In the spirit of global partnership, I am proud to recognize a new partnership the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), and the Global Fund to protect patients from fake medicines, to bring to light the impact of these fakes on global public health, and to empower people everywhere to join the cause. By raising awareness, developing more comprehensive data, and building our global capacity, we will ensure that genuine, quality medicines reach those that need them most. This partnership brings us one step closer to providing every patient around the world with peace of mind about the safety, efficacy, and authenticity of their medicines.
We will save lives by leveraging the power of innovation and shared responsibility. Click here to join us, tell your story, and help Fight the Fakes. For more information about the impact of counterfeit medicines on global health visit us on Facebook and Twitter.