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Health care professions ask consumers to identify fake medicine

Would you be able to tell a real medicine from a fake one? This important question is being posed to the public, health care professionals and policymakers by the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA) in a video, launched today, that exploits an interactive function of YouTube. Viewers are asked to choose between two products and then shown the consequence of their decision: the person either recovers or ends up in hospital.

The project was led by FIP. “We’re seeing an increase in fake medicines around the world and they’re becoming harder to identify due to technological advances. We wanted, through this video, to confront people with a situation to which little thought is often given. We wanted to give viewers the responsibility for what happens and, in doing so, to send home the message that there is a need to think twice about the choices they make. The aim was to enable informed decisions,” said Mr Luc Besançon, Chief Executive Officer of FIP.

The video is part of a new WHPA project, “Counter the counterfeits”, which is the latest work in the alliance’s long-running campaign to protect people from substandard or falsified medicines and medical devices. It is accompanied by three sets of animated measures that consumers, health professionals and policymakers around the world can take to get rid of fake medicines and the harm that they do.

Consumers, for instance, are given advice on how to make sure that medicines bought online are real, and health care professionals are reminded which features of medicines to inspect. Through the third set of measures, the WHPA calls on policymakers to strengthen laws against counterfeiting and to involve health care professionals in policy decisions so that these are appropriate to real-life and more likely to be put into practice.

Watch the video and see what measures you can take here.

Find out more about FIP's work on fighting counterfeit medicines here.