Within recent years, pharmaceutical counterfeiting has evolved into a sophisticated, global enterprise. According to the World Health Organization, “A counterfeit medicine is one which is deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled with respect to identity and/or source”. Counterfeiting can apply to both branded and generic products. Generally, counterfeit products may include products: with the correct ingredients, wrong ingredients, without active ingredients, with incorrect quantities of active ingredients or with fake packaging.
Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are the most lucrative sector of the international trade in illegally copied goods. Drug companies have spent billions in an effort to curb counterfeiters with no real success. Developing countries are the worst affected since the regulatory structure is weaker and measurement is difficult.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately one million people die annually from fake drugs. Fake drugs can cause serious health implications even when they don’t directly kill users. The absence of anti-counterfeiting measures exposes millions of the world’s population to potentially lethal chemicals. The law enforcement agencies, customs division and other stakeholders in the Caribbean are constantly seeking ways to reduce or eliminate the problem of drug counterfeiting.
The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI), as a stakeholder in the pharmaceutical industry is immensely concerned about the growing drug counterfeit market. In an attempt to address this problem, CARIRI can undertake testing of pharmaceutical products using our highly trained staff and state of the art laboratory.