Is It Fake or Real?: Counterfeit Drugs
My project introduction video

It is a type of drug that is intended to mislead the consumer. It can cause death, disabilities, and other consequences. According to an article, more than 250,000 children are killed by false/fake drugs every year. The goal of this project is to promote awareness of false/fake drugs and come up with solutions to reduce its death rate.

Possibly almost 70% of the global drug markets contain counterfeit drugs. The counterfeiters sell drugs only for the profit so they choose products with high demand and moderate cost. It is more likely to find a location with these requirements in poor regions. The main reason poor countries are the primary target of these drugs is that the majority of the population are not able to afford legitimately prescribed drugs. Therefore, it is very easy to appeal to costumers at a lower price. Another reason would be the weakness of its federal control over drugs. It is very challenging to improve the current condition because of diversity in the fields of social, economic, and education. The patient may experience unusual side effects, unexpected allergic reaction, or even worsening the illness.

1. Is there any regulation on false/fake drug use?
2. Where does it happen?
3. How to detect false/fake drugs?
4. Is selling false/fake drugs considered as a crime?

1. Yes, there is regulation on fake drug use in most of the developed countries. However, most of the developing countries don’t have a proper rule. Organizations such as WHO launched a task force to stop the illegal trade of fake drugs.
2. Most of the times, these drugs are sold on the internet and shady markets mostly in poor regions.
3. It is possible but often times, it requires very detailed inspection by professionals. However, we can minimize the risk by checking the label and the validity of the pharmacy. This gets even more challenging through internet purchase.
4. Yes, many US states have legal codes and federal regulations. According to the European Medicines Agency, “Counterfeit drugs are drugs that do not comply with intellectual property rights or that infringe trademark law.” (EMA)

Determinants of the drugs:
– Wrong amount of active ingredient (or none)
– Labeled incorrectly
– Contains unapproved drug
– Produced in substandard conditions

Ways to detect false/fake drugs:
– Check the packaging
– Check the medicine form (appearance)
– Check the price
– Verify manufacturer’s information

Documentary video of a fake drug victim

Try this quiz:

Recently, the risk of counterfeit drugs has increased because of the development of internet markets. This allows easier access to illegal purchases and trade across the globe. Additionally, the majority of developing countries lack sustainable regulations against it. Although organizations have attempted to fight against it for those countries, it does not do enough. It is crucial to raise awareness so that everyone is able to look after ourselves. It is truly disappointing to see these illegal companies value profit over someone’s life.

Scutti, Susan. “Global ‘Pandemic’ of Fake Drugs Killing Children Worldwide.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Mar. 2019,

“Counterfeit Drugs: Questions and Answers on Fake Medicines.”,

Baratta, Francesca, et al. “Diffusion of Counterfeit Drugs in Developing Countries and Stability of Galenics Stored for Months under Different Conditions of Temperature and Relative Humidity.” Croatian Medical Journal, Croatian Medical Schools, Apr. 2012,

Bayer AG. “What Are Counterfeit Drugs?” Bayer,

“Growing Threat from Counterfeit Medicines.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 4 Mar. 2011,

Anonymous. “Falsified Medicines: Overview.” European Medicines Agency, 8 Feb. 2019,

Share this project
  1. April 27, 2019 by Wilder

    Nice job Taichi! I previously knew a little bit about counterfeit drugs, but had no real grasp of the impact that they can have. Your presentation told me a lot about the problems with counterfeit drugs, especially their developing in developing communities. I was very surprised to find out just how serious this issue is with online sites.

  2. April 27, 2019 by Kendall.Harris

    Amazing work Taichi! I didn’t really know much about this issue before clicking on your web page but after reading it and watching the videos, I am much more informed. I think this issue is very current in our society but not addressed enough, so thank you for shedding light on this issue.

  3. April 28, 2019 by Annabel.Sumardi

    I didn’t know the extent of this problem, and I thought the quiz you included was really interesting to take and see just how hard it is to tell the fake from real drugs. This is a really interesting topic to choose, and your information and layout was great!

  4. May 05, 2019 by Madison Bequer

    Hi Taichi! I love this project. Before I read your project I only knew of the counterfeit drug crisis in the public eye and I didn’t know how it affected developing countries. I love that you added that short documentary about the crisis in Kenya to add a first hand account. Overall great job!

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