1. Internet Campaigns against Counterfeiting Reaches Global Scope
One of the main reasons why drug counterfeiting has been successful is because of its penetration in the internet. For 2013 alone, $75 billion –worth of counterfeit medicines was confiscated from more than a thousand illicit online pharmacies worldwide. With the same medium, anti-counterfeiting campaigns are being formed in a country-to-country awareness approach. With the help and assistance of the national government of each nation, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organization (WHO) are expecting a wider spectrum of information responsiveness among consumers.
With this aim, here are some of the samples of countries with their anti-counterfeiting online campaigns:
The Portuguese National Authority of Medicines and Health Products – Infarmed – provided interesting information on its experience with awareness raising actions, with particular regard to an awareness campaign on the issue of “Medicines and the Internet” that was developed and implemented in two phases (2008 and 2010). The main aim of the campaign was to alert consumers on the dangers linked to the purchase of online medicines outside the licit channels. At the same time, the organizers wanted to make the public aware of the new existing opportunities to buy medicines through legal orders via the Internet.
UK is one of the powerhouses in aggressively and actively taking down internet scams by illegal pharmacies. Since 2008, Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has partnered with Pfizer to deliver the “Get Real, Get a Prescription/RealDanger” campaign. Pfizer claims initiative aims in educating the public of risks of buying medicines from unregulated pharmacies. The campaign was spread through advert cinema and even PRs.
Different non-profit organizations have been operating in the archipelago’s capital. From seminars held by The Peterson Group to an active collaboration with WHO, local authorities and pharmacies have been encouraged to support online campaigns. Telecommunication sectors and the local governments are also being used to reach other neighboring islands.
Along with Yokohama, Tokyo has initiated a two-day campaign through a celebration fair published in the internet. Social media was used through competition of highest likes and shares. The event also held a cultural festival with competitions ranging from fitness pageantry to talent showcase. The participants were also required to sign a petition on their support to stopping distribution of fraud medicines as a way of registration for the event.
The Colegio de Farmacéuticos, the Defensoría del Pueblo and the Consejo de Salud Provincial of the Province of Buenos Aires teamed up to organise a campaign to raise awareness on the issue of falsified medicines among the population of the province and to share key messages against internet usage on purchasing medicines.