This is a statement made at the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board on Agenda item 10: Substandard and falsified medical products by members of the Fight the Fakes Alliance.
Honourable chair, distinguished delegates,
On behalf of the World Heart Federation, International Alliance of Patient Organizations, International Council of Nurses, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, Medicines for Malaria Venture, and US Pharmacopeia and supported by Fight the Fakes Alliance, we thank you for the opportunity to make this statement.
As members of the Fight the Fakes (FTF) Alliance, we are deeply concerned about the rise of substandard and falsified (SF) medical products during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. We call for increased efforts of member states, regulatory agencies, law enforcement, and stakeholders to tackle this ever-growing issue.
Fake medicines not only threaten patient safety but undermine trust in healthcare systems, fuel antimicrobial resistance, and obstruct the goal of achieving UHC by 2030. The pandemic has renewed focus on the devastating impact of SF medical products on people’s well-being.
During the pandemic, criminals circulated SF protective equipment, diagnostics, and potential treatments. Numerous countries have approved COVID-19 vaccines and initiated inoculation; first reports of falsified vaccines circulating have also started to emerge. With the growing demand to contain the pandemic and swiftly vaccinate health care workers and high-risk groups, the threat of falsified vaccines is omnipresent globally.
We, the members of the FTF Alliance, representing health care professionals, manufacturers, wholesalers, researchers, and patients around the world, strongly urge people to not purchase alleged COVID-19 vaccines from online sources or street vendors. You will be notified by your local or national authority if you are eligible for a vaccine.
In the fight against the fakes, we firmly commit to stepping up our advocacy efforts, building capacity to respond to SF medical products, ensuring global standards in healthcare are met, and fostering collaborative action with relevant stakeholders. It is imperative that the global health community come together to ensure that people everywhere can access safe, high-quality medicines.