The UK has launched a new campaign to warn consumers about the risks of counterfeit drugs and the potential dangers associated with ordering medicines on-line. The campaign is using recent research, which shows the population has a low perception of the risks of counterfeits, as a focal point.
According to the study, of 1,000 people asked, only 2% believed that drugs were likely to be fake compared to other consumer goods such as DVDs. Two-thirds of respondents claimed that they had received e-mails offering to sell them unlicensed medicines.
Due to the fact that drug prices in the UK are generally above the EU average, the UK drug industry is facing a growing problem with counterfeit drugs. Manufacturers are reluctant to highlight the problem, for fear that it will harm sales of their branded products.
However, US-based drug maker Pfizer has recently requested that the UK government take stronger action against counterfeiters after fake batches of its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor were discovered in the supply chain.