Counterfeit Goods

Information and statistics about counterfeiting and the sale of counterfeit goods. Estimated losses from counterfeits, markets where fake goods are sold, and other piracy statistics are collected from criminal justice programs and public information sources.

According to a report by the International Policy Network based in Washington, DC, up to 700,000 people die each year due to counterfeit malaria and tuberculosis drugs.

In some developing countries, up to 30 percent of all medicines being dispersed are fakes, according to the World Health Organization. Most of the counterfeit drugs in circulation are originally produced in China or India.

Source:  Natasha Khan, “China Police Arrest More Than 1,900 People in Fake-Drug Hunt,” Bloomberg Businessweek, August 5, 2012.

In 2011, Customs officials in the European Union seized 115 million counterfeit items. The fake goods were worth $1.57 Billion (1.3 Billion Euros).

73 percent of the counterfeit goods came from China. The most seized item was counterfeit drugs, which accounted 24 percent of the total.

Source: Associated Press, “EU customs says it intercepted $1.6 billion in counterfeit goods in 2011, says most from China,” Washington Post, July 24, 2012.

In August 2011, the number of times that Internet users in New Zealand viewed pirated movies online was 110,000. After a change in law where pirated content users could be fined up to $11,980 (15,000 New Zealand Dollars), the number of online views of pirated movies dropped to 50,000 in September 2011.

Up to 41 percent of all Internet users in New Zealand access pirated content online. 28 percent of all Internet users worldwide access pirated content online.

Source:  “Four in 10 Kiwis still flout piracy laws,” TV NZ, July 23, 2012.

According to law enforcement officials, counterfeiters in Peru produce the most counterfeit US dollars in the world.

Between 2009 and 2010, over $30 Million in fake dollars were seized by police in the country.

Investigators estimated that only 10 percent of dollar counterfeiters are arrested in the country. Most of the fake currency is smuggled to the United States.

Source:  Ian Garland, “Pressed for cash: Rise of counterfeit money in Peru as police seize $2m in fake U.S. currency and 1.5 million euros,” Daily Mail, July 19, 2012.

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized 13,023 counterfeit items during a two week campaign in Kansas City, Missouri leading up to the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.Included in the seizures were replica jerseys, memorabilia and fake tickets. 20 percent of the fake items seized were products of other professional sporting leagues such as the NFL. In total, the fake goods had a street value of $540,000.

On average, Major League Baseball seizes around 600,000 counterfeit items bearing the logo of its teams.

Source:  Associated Press, “Counterfeit MLB merchandise seized in Kansas City prior to All-Star Game,”, July 12, 2012.


According to research firm Arc Chart, up to 150 million counterfeit mobile phones are estimated to created and shipped out to customers in 2013. The number of fake phones will make up to 7 percent of the total mobile phone market in 2013, and make up to 15 percent of the mobile phone market in Asia.

The cost of make a counterfeit iPhone in China is reported to be about $300. The sellers then offer the counterfeit phone to customers for around $600.

Source:  Karen Haslam, “Apple’s China Challenge: Fighting Counterfeiters,” PCWorld, July 7, 2012.

As of 2012, there were over 100,000 Russian ebooks available on book piracy websites, compared to 60,000 book titles available at legitimate websites, according to Russia’s Press and Communication Agency.

As much as 90 percent of the ebook market in Russia consists of pirated books. In comparison, pirated ebooks makes up 29 percent of all book downloads in the United Kingdom.

Source:  Alexandra Guzeva, “Pirates in Russia plunder e-book market,” Telegraph, July 4, 2012.

There are over 100 fake universities in China that sell diplomas and degrees to customers. The reported price for a fake diploma in China is $30,000 (190,000 Yuan).

Worldwide, an estimated 50,000 fake PhD degrees are sold by diploma mills and fake colleges.

(See more prices of fake university degrees and diplomas.)

Source:  “Fake degrees: A quick study,” Economist, July 7, 2012.

An official with Universal Music stated to the press that the music piracy rate in the Middle East was 95 percent. Key areas where piracy takes place is in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Worldwide, losses from music piracy causes $12.5 Billion.

Source: Naushad K. Cherrayil,”Piracy is rampant in music industry,” gulfnews, June 29, 2012.

In 2011, sales of counterfeit alcohol in Russia makes up between 23 to 37 percent of all alcohol sales in the country, according to federal statistics.

305,000 liters of counterfeit and bootleg alcohol was seized in Russia in 2011, and around 12,000 people died during the year due to consuming fake alcohol.

Fake vodka sales in Russia is estimated to be worth $3.3 Billion.

Source:  IANS/RIA Novosti, “30,000 bottles of fake vodka seized in Russia,” New York Daily News, June 27, 2012.