Counterfeit medicines – a global knowledge gap

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Sanofi survey reveals a lack of consumer understanding about fake medicines.

The counterfeit medicines trade is big business.

To increase understanding of consumer perceptions, Sanofi commissioned a study of more than 10,000 people worldwide.

The study has shed light on perceptions of the fake medicines industry and on the buying habits of consumers.

Some 10,515 people across Asia, Europe and the US were surveyed to find out how their understanding of counterfeit medicines differed.

 

Important “knowledge gaps”

 

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Of major concern was that some 89% of Asians surveyed were aware that counterfeit drugs existed, compared to 66% of Europeans and only 47% of Americans.

There were huge ‘knowledges gaps’ across areas, and not only between Occident and Asia, but also inside Occident. If it’s still in Asia that population is the most aware of counterfeit drugs, an important majority of Europeans have heard about it, whereas they were just a minority in the United States.

 

The results also show a large discrepancy between consumer perceptions of counterfeits in the world of medicines and in other sectors.

 

Various awareness of the link between counterfeiting and drugs

 

 

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Only 15% of Americans, 20% of Europeans and 36% of Asians associated counterfeiting and drugs, yet when asked about counterfeiting and clothing, there was much higher recognition. Some 54% of Americans surveyed, 72% of Europeans and 53% of Asians were able to link counterfeiting to clothes.

 

In Asia, the link between counterfeiting and medicines was strongest in Vietnam, China and the Philippines.

 

Buying drugs online: gaps in risk awareness

 

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When it comes to fuelling the fake drugs industry, 39% of Asians compared to 18% of Europeans and Americans said they had bought medicines online.

 

The World Health Organization says buying medicines online is a high-risk strategy, with many web retailers selling fake drugs.

 

The Sanofi survey reveals that Asians buy more drugs online than Americans or Europeans, but they also understand they are engaging in risky behaviour. Europeans and Americans, even if careful, when they have already buy medicines online, most of them were not aware of the fact that there was a risk involved.

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