Statement 27 January 2017

WHO EB140 agenda item 8.6 Member State mechanism on substandard/spurious/ falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products


Delivered by Cyntia Genolet, Manager, Regulatory and Health Policy

Progress toward health improvement will not be achievable without a consistent and constant fight against falsified medicines. Falsified medicines deliberately and deceitfully attempt to pass themselves off as genuine approved medicines. They represent a serious threat to patients, and undermine the full spectrum of legitimate medicines both patented and generic medicines, and exist in all therapeutic areas.

Falsified medicines are a public health threat which knows no border. They are sold in the streets and open markets but also penetrate the legitimate supply chain and less regulated markets like Internet. No country is immune to this danger.

Addressing falsified medicines requires general education and knowledge. As a partner in global health, IFPMA plays its part, in particular as a member of Fight the Fakes, a campaign of over 30 leading public health organizations that coordinate their efforts to speak up against falsified medicines.

Initiatives to fight this scourge are increasing, but success will be achieved only through collective action building on each actor’s expertise and strength. The lack of a globally approved definition is a key reason hindering strong coordinated action. IFPMA therefore welcomes the consensus found by the WHO mechanism members in accepting the use of the term “falsified” for the purposes of the work within the Member State mechanism. Reaching this consensus is an important step forward.

This agreement is in line with IFPMA’s position: as stated in our Ten Principles, patents have nothing to do with falsified medicines. Efforts to tackle falsified versions of genuine approved medicines must not be confused with patent infringement disputes.

As the leader on global health matters, the WHO has a key role to play in the fight against falsified medicines. IFPMA believes that the WHO global coordination role among international organizations is necessary to ensure that all aspects of this problem are adequately addressed.


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

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