Approximately 10.5% Of Drugs Fake, Substandard In Low-, Middle-Income Countries; Counterfeits Potentially Contribute To Tens Of Thousands Of Deaths, WHO Reports Say

Associated Press: U.N.: About 11 percent of drugs in poor countries are fake
“About 11 percent of medicines in developing countries are counterfeit and likely responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children from diseases like malaria and pneumonia every year, the World Health Organization said Tuesday…” (Cheng, 11/28).

FOX Business: 10% of drugs are bogus in developing countries, Americans at risk too
“…Since 2013, WHO said it has received 1,500 reports of bogus drug cases, with antimalarials and antibiotics being the most commonly reported. However, the problem extends to everything from cancer drugs to contraceptive pills…” (Scipioni, 11/28).

Reuters: Tens of thousands dying from $30 billion fake drugs trade, WHO says
“…The scale of the problem is hard to quantify precisely, but a WHO pooled analysis of 100 studies from 2007 to 2016, covering more than 48,000 samples, showed 10.5 percent of drugs in low- and middle-income countries to be fake or substandard. With pharmaceutical sales in such countries running at nearly $300 billion a year, this implies that trade in fake medicines is a $30 billion business…” (Hirschler, 11/28).

VICE News: These are the deadly consequences of fake drugs around the world
“…Such drugs have real consequences. Up to 158,000 people may die annually from fake malaria medication in sub-Saharan Africa, a separate WHO review discovered Tuesday. More than 40 percent of the reports to the World Health Organization about fake drugs came from areas where the agency works in Africa. Another 21 percent came from Europe; 21 percent of the reports also originated in the Americas…” (Sherman, 11/28).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.