Edward J. Buthusiem | Berkeley Research Group, LLC & Briannon Irwin | Intern at Berkeley Research Group, LLC
The sale and use of counterfeit medicines pose a real and potent threat to global health and commerce. Over the past decade, the threat of counterfeit medicines has increased, with incidents of counterfeiting reported in 123 nations. One watchdog group documented 2,193 incidents of pharmaceutical crime in 2013 alone, representing almost a 9 percent increase from 2012. This rise can be attributed largely to the growing online pharmaceutical marketplace that enables counterfeit drugs to permeate households. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals often lack active ingredients, depriving the patient of the medication they need. Even worse, counterfeit drugs have been found to contain poisons such as arsenic, shoe polish, nickel, and leaded road paint. While many counterfeits reach patients through online markets, these falsified medications have also penetrated legal supply chains.