Study finds low awareness of counterfeit medicines in US

Blister packsA survey has revealed that just 15 per cent of the American public associate counterfeiting with medicines, a much lower proportion than for clothing and luxury goods.

The poll - conducted on behalf of pharmaceutical company Sanofi - also revealed that more than half (53 per cent) of respondents had never heard of counterfeit medicines, while 41 per cent said they had no information about them.

More than 80 per cent of the 1,500 people surveyed felt that they had never been exposed to counterfeit drugs, although 59 per cent said they believed it possible that counterfeit medicines might be found in traditional retail channels in the US.

"The findings of this study demonstrate that the burden is still too poorly perceived by populations as a whole," said Geoffroy Bessaud, associate vice president of anti-counterfeit coordination at Sanofi.

The findings "underline the need for the public at large to be better informed about the risks involved," he added.

On the plus side, 79 per cent of those surveyed acknowledged that buying medicines online puts them at risk of exposure to fake drugs, and fewer than one in five (18 per cent) said they had already bought medicines online.

Three-quarters (74 per cent) were not however aware that there is a risk involved with online medicine purchase, even though a 2011 study revealed that two-thirds of tablets bought on the Internet were counterfeit.

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