Counterfeiting and Pirating Pharmaceuticals Matters!

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Why do we need ceasing counterfeiting and pirating pharmaceuticals? Counterfeit is crime based on imitating, manufacturing, and distributing goods by using another’s famous name (Iacc, n.d.) This means the counterfeiters made the product which has some component or ingredients as the original one. However, pirating is the act of duplicating a product or making a complete copy of a product and using others’ brand names without the owner’s authorization (Iacc, n.d.). This is the worst practice because counterfeits and pirates sometimes contain non-sufficient ingredients and none balanced doze, which can harm people’s lives. There are many people who always create innovations in different departments. Those people strongly use their minds to create amazing intellectual properties such as designs, symbols, names, images, and other artistic works that are used in commerce (Wipo, n.d.). Even though they work hard to build their brand names, there are other people who are willing to counterfeit others’ products without the owner’s license. Even though people said that counterfeit and piracy display some advantages such as helping people to get products at a low price, counterfeiting pharmaceutical products should not be supported since it is contributing to the reduction of the country’s income, uncured diseases which lead to the loss of peoples’ lives, and increasing crimes. Below are paragraphs that explain more about these points.

Firstly, intellectual property refers to creations of the mind such as inventions, literary and artistic works; designs, and symbols, names, and images used in commerce, (WIPO, 2006).  Secondly, a trade license is a document or certificate that gives permission to the person or company to operate a particular business in a particular place (WIPO, 2006). This means no company should work without these authorization documents. The third one is a trademark. This is a symbol or design which differentiates a certain company from the others. example: Nike, Adidas, TOYOTA, Yokohama, and others (WIPO, 2006). With this, it is better to have a trademark or a logo that differentiates a certain company from others. The fourth is copyright. Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works (WIPO, 2006). That is why every company should ask a copyright owner before using their works or property. The fifth one is Licensing. This is an agreement between one business and another one of producing a specific product for specific profit (Entrepreneur, n.d.). This license gives one company to produce a similar product as an owner and this isn’t considered as piracy.

In this paragraph, I am going to relate all above concepts with our topic. Starting on counterfeit and piracy terms, they are related to our topic because we are going to deal with how people imitate the medicines of other companies without permission, and how other people use others’ intellectual properties (copyright, trademark) without permissions of the owners. Intellectual properties including copyright, and trademarks are related to our topic. This is because for something to be counterfeited, there must be illegal usage of trademarks or copyright of genuine products’ manufacturers. Again, for the company to produce your products, there must be official permission from you that is called licensing. So, if other people produce or sell drugs and medicines of your company without your permission or without your license, it will be illegal. So, this is how licensing is connected to the pharmaceutical counterfeit.

There is some importance of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. The first reason is getting medicines at a low price. This is because there are some people who are not able to buy original medicines due to the high cost of those medicines. But counterfeit medicines help them to get the medicines for a low price, so that they can increase the years of living (Live Science Staff, 2013). However, this is a mistake they commit because finally those counterfeits cause them other terrible diseases like cancer and other life difficulties. The second reason is that counterfeiters’ companies provide jobs to the jobless. However, those jobs are often paid poor salaries and sometimes those companies force the workers to work in bad conditions. That is why counterfeiting and pirating pharmaceutical products should not be supported anymore.

Starting on how counterfeits and piracy play a big role in the reduction of a country’s income, counterfeits are considered as major problems countries are facing nowadays in their economies. The economic results of a boundless robbery and duplicating business in a nation may go a lot further. Counterfeiters have an immediate negative impact on the economy; this is regularly legitimately identified with misfortunes in charge incomes, and may likewise bring about unemployment in the country (WIPO, 2006). Do you mind if the counterfeits and pirates are greater than the original ones? Because many counterfeiters disguise themselves in order to work without paying taxes, or not be blamed by the owners of companies they are pirating, their ample pirates will be bought more than originals because their price is on a low level. Therefore, industries that produce original products include pharmaceuticals will close their door because they are not getting money, even though they produce originals and important products, especially medicines and drugs. This will lead to sufficient income from the taxes because counterfeiters do not pay the taxes. It is not debatable that the life of the people stands on the government’s economy. That’s why governments have to take action and set sustainable solutions on this issue of counterfeiting and pirating pharmaceuticals.    

Going to the social issue, counterfeiting pharmaceuticals causes many people to lose their lives. The problem is even direr as many drugs will contain incorrect dosages of active ingredients or no active ingredient at all. More money inevitably strengthens criminal organizations and makes it more difficult to stem the damaging society impact of their activities, an impact that could include lost lives, greater security costs as well as physical and emotional consequences (International chamber of commerce, 2020). This means a large number of people join non trustful companies and organizations accidentally.

Counterfeiters always use different methods of disguising their fake goods with popular brand names, logos, and trusted certification marks. They also produce copies of genuine products and imitates the packaging, boxes, and other designed features. They try every possible way to make people not differentiate their fake goods from original goods (Unodc, n.d.). That is why it challenges people to differentiate counterfeit products from original ones. Actually, counterfeiting and pirating pharmaceutical products is one of the worst practices many counterfeiters apply, because it can affect people’s life strongly.

In terms of legal, counterfeits and piracy increase the crimes. Buying fake merchandise supports crimes and contributes to tax evasion and dealing in unlawful weapons. For example, the people who are making the deals of counterfeits try to find out the solution to prevent themselves by purchasing unlawful weapons so that they can avoid or kill those who attack them (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2019). In different places where it is easy to get counterfeits, are more likely to face security issues and other multiple crimes. There may exist many people with different life difficulties, and cancer, because they use counterfeit medicines. No company is allowed to work without the permission of the government. That authorization is called a trading license. If counterfeiters do not have trading licenses, it is clear that they will work undersea. That means they really know that what they are doing is totally illegal. The World Health Organization (WHO), set the measures of producing and selling quality medicines, for the sake of people’s lives. Counterfeiters do not stop doing those harmful activities, governments have set different measures as well as penalties to them like the fines of a lot of money and being jailed (Dhanticounterfeit, 2018). This affects their families highly because it ends in unexpected poverty.

Going next, the World Health Organization (WHO) demonstrated that more than 30% of the pharmaceutical products sold by the people of Asia, Latin America, and Africa are counterfeits. In 2011, 64% of antimalarial medicines in Nigeria were tested to be counterfeited (Erwin A. Blackstone, 2014). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 100,000 deaths per year found in Africa are connected to counterfeits and drugs. The British think-tank, International Policy Network, demonstrated that globally, 700,000 deaths per year are caused by counterfeits malaria and tuberculosis drugs (Jocelyne Sambira, 2013). In addition, more counterfeits are being exported in African countries because the counterfeiters know how more Africans are poor, who are not able to buy the good and quality products (Chris Walters, 2017). That is why Africans have become a good counterfeiters’ pharmaceutical market over the world.

By tackling morals and ethics which are related to this topic, people should not counterfeit and pirate pharmaceuticals because it is a harmful practice that needs to be stopped early. It is a practice that destroys human rights. If people continue to use those fake medicines, it will cause them life difficulties like cancer and other future hidden disabilities, and it can lead to death. This issue has to be understood by the counterfeiters so that they can stop those harmful activities.

In conclusion, as we have seen that counterfeits affect the economy, social, legal, and health. I can advise people around the world to pay attention to pharmaceutical products because they harm their lives. People have to always check carefully before using those medicines. Before buying the product like medicines and other pharmaceuticals, think critically, consider the location where you are going to buy the product, and the price if matching. You can also ask your friends or your doctor because they can provide good advice for you on the products you are going to buy. This will help people and governments to have better lives and better futures.


Iacc. (n.d.). What is counterfeiting. IACC – International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition.

Wipo. (n.d.). WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization.

WIPO. (2006, December 7). What are the economic and social consequences of counterfeiting and piracy? Wayback Machine.

Entrepreneur. (n.d.). Licensing.

Nina Natalia. (2019, January 29). The intersection of 3D printing and trademark law. jipitec.

Live Science Staff. (2013, May 30). Illegal drugs cause 250,000 global deaths yearly, report finds.

International chamber of commerce. (2020, May 5). 5 ways counterfeiting hurts society—and what we can do about it. ICC – International Chamber of Commerce.

Unodc. (n.d.). United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (2019, March 24). Fake goods, real dangers. U.S. Customs and Border Protection | Securing America’s Borders.

Dhanticounterfeit. (2018, January 5). What are the most common penalties for counterfeiting? DH Anticounterfeit.

Erwin A. Blackstone. (2014, June 7). The health and economic effects of counterfeit drugs. PubMed Central (PMC).

Jocelyne Sambira. (2013, July 19). Counterfeit drugs raise Africa’s temperature. Africa Renewal.

Chris Walters. (2017, March). Africa steps up fight against counterfeits. Spoor & Fisher.




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