Statement 22 May 2015

WHA 68, Item 17.3, Substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products


Item 17.3 Substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products

Delivered by Cyntia Genolet, Policy Analyst, Regulatory & Health Policy

Thank you on behalf of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) for the opportunity to contribute to this important discussion today. IFPMA represents leading research-based pharmaceutical companies as well as national and regional industry associations across the world.

Fakes medicines are a public health threat putting patient’s life at risk. The fastest growing numbers of fake medicines penetrating the legitimate medicine supply chain are knock-off of lifesaving medicines. A recent study published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that 52.8% of all counterfeit medicines detected in the legitimate supply chain are lifesaving-related treatments (1).

Fake medicines undermine patients’ trust in health systems, their governments, health care providers and manufacturers of genuine medicines. Combating manufacturing and distribution of fake medicines requires an active participation that involves all stakeholders and should leverage several competencies at both local and global levels. As the leader on global health matters, the World Health Organization (WHO) has an unparalleled role to play.

IFPMA welcomes the adoption of the prioritized activities of WHO Member States Mechanism on Substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products, in particular the strong focus on regulatory capacity strengthening, analysis of the public health and socio-economic impact of these products and effective risk communication.

Addressing fake medicines requires strong policies, legislation and penalties for those producing fake products as well as general education about the dangers. Combating this crime is a shared responsibility. This is the reason why IFPMA and other 28 partner organizations have united under the Fight the Fakes campaign, aiming to raise awareness on the danger of fake medicines and to provide a platform where true stories can be shared.

The trade of fake medicines is growing; IFPMA stands ready to play its part to put an end to this crime.


The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) represents over 90 innovative pharmaceutical companies and associations around the world. Our industry’s almost three million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that advance global health. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community improve the lives of people everywhere. For more information, visit

Learn more

Media Contact

Elliot Dunster