Falsified and Substandard Medicines

Good health is impossible without access to high-quality, affordable medicines

Millions of Africans are deprived of the benefits of advances in modern science and medicine.

  • Millions of people and children die from preventable diseases.
  • Worldwide, an estimated two billion people have no access to essential medicines.  

Sources of poor-quality medicines

Poor-quality medicines can be both falsified and substandard.

  • Falsified medicines are deliberately fake medical products. Criminals manufacture, traffic and sell fake products to unsuspecting customers.
  • Substandard medicines can be the result of poor manufacturing and quality-control practices in the manufacture or distribution of the product.

Murder by Medicine

Poor-quality medicines lead to death and illness.

  • Both fake and substandard medicines pose a threat to public health because they can lead to death, additional illness in individuals, the spread of disease within a community and antibiotic resistance.
  • The link between the traffic in falsified medicines and organised crime has been well established by intelligence services and law enforcement agencies. They are smuggled onto markets using the same routes and techniques as drug, weapon, or human trafficking.
  • Transnational organised crime also funds terrorism, destabilising countries and weakening state structures.

Learn about our activities to tackle poor quality medicine