Counterfeit Drugs

Latest counterfeit drugs statistics and news about fake medicines. Data about the substandard pills are collected from public health officials, global organizations and other public information sources.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria reported that the prevalence rate of counterfeit drugs in the country was at 6 percent in 2013. The rate was down from16.7 percent over the previous five years.

Officials in Nigeria state that most of the fake drugs originate from China.

Source:  Francis Kokutse, “Unlike India, China not helping Nigeria stop fake drugs’,” New York Daily News, May 15, 2013.

A report in the New York Times stated that the price of one Viagra pill when purchased through an insurance company is between $29 to $49 in copayments. When Viagra is purchased on online pharmacies, the price is about $10.

Pfizer, the maker of the drug, conducted a survey of 22 websites that were offering Viagra in 2011. According to their survey, 80 percent of the pills purchased from these sites were counterfeit drugs. In these fake pills, the active ingredient of sildenafil citrate only made up to half of the drug.

Source:  Katie Thomas, “Facing Black Market, Pfizer Is Looking Online to Sell Viagra,” New York Times, May 6, 2013.

In 2011 and 2012, Australian Customs Officials seized over 700 packages of counterfeit drugs. The number seized during each of the two years is significantly higher than the 262 packages of fake drugs seized by Customs in 2009-2010.

The fake drugs consisted of counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills and pills to assist with weight loss and tanning.

Source: Nick Taylor, “Australia reports jump in fake drug cases,” March 18, 2013.


Federal regulators in Russia state that the available data shows that the counterfeit drugs market in Russia is estimated to be between $750 Million to $3 Billion.

Back in 2005, Health Officials stated that fake medicine could make up to 20 percent of the drug market in Russia.

Source:  Nathan Gray, “Report hits Russia’s lapses in counterfeit drugs fight,” Moscow News, February 25, 2013.

According to statistics from public health programs and security agencies in China, over 20,000 people were arrested in 2012 for producing and selling counterfeit drugs.

The authorities investigated 14,000 cases that involved $2.56 Billion (16 Billion Yuan) in medicine value.

Source:  Xinhua, “14,000 counterfeit drug cases cracked,”, February 20, 2013.

Research conducted by the World Health Organization found that the most common source of counterfeit drugs is India and China.

The most commonly counterfeited drugs are genitourinary medicines, anti-infective drugs, and central nervous system drugs.

Up to 10 percent of the drugs on sale in developing countries are may be counterfeits.

Source:  Olga Khazan, “Here’s why 10 percent of the developing world’s drugs are fake,” Washington Post, November 14, 2012.

Up to 40 million prescriptions in the United States are filled with counterfeit drugs each year, according to a white paper by

In FY2011, counterfeit drugs consisted of 9 percent of all counterfeit goods seized by US Customs.

Source:  “Health and Safety Risks From Counterfeits in the Supply Chain,” Create.Org, October 25, 2012.

Drug maker Pfizer found 20 counterfeit versions of their drugs in 81 countries in January 2009.

By July 2012, the company reported finding 60 of their drugs being counterfeited in 106 countries.

Source:  “Fake pharmaceuticals: Bad medicine,” Economist, October 13, 2012.

In a six month time period in 2012, police seized 2,600 packages of counterfeit drugs entering the city of Vancouver. In addition, one man was caught smuggling 6,000 counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills in British Columbia.

Source:  “Organized crime behind fake pills entering Canada,” CBC News, October4, 2012.

An Interpol operation in September / October 2012 involving 100 countries seized an estimated $10.5 Million worth of counterfeit drugs. About 18,000 websites that were selling fake drugs were shut down during the week long campaign, along with 3.7 million doses of counterfeit drugs.

United States Law Enforcement officials shut down 686 websites within their jurisdiction for selling counterfeit medicines.

Source:  Grant Gross, “US agencies seize 686 websites accused of selling fake drugs,” Computerworld, October 4, 2012.