Fight the fakes: how to beat the $200bn medicine counterfeiters

7 June, 2019

Hi HIFA members

It sounds very laudable, but there is a reason why producing counterfeit medicines and other products is profitable: prices for branded goods are far higher than they need to be just to make a sizeable profit.

In addition, there is a risk that such initiatives will kill the generics market. In developing countries the cost of a branded medicine can be five times higher, or more, than the generic equivalent. Counterfeit products must be even cheaper than generics to produce.

Producers appear to stand back while educational, charity and government institutions foot the bill, so that producers of branded products can keep their prices artificially high.

This starts to sound like protectionism, while people in developing countries are systematically misinformed about vital distinctions between brands, generics, counterfeits and fakes. If they can't afford the brand, they will go for a cheaper version.

So if the aim is to protect the health and welfare of people in developing countries, they should be guided towards the cheapest equivalents.



HIFA profile: Simon Collery is an independent information consultant in London, with 11 years experience working in international development, mainly in East Africa - collery (@)