WASHINGTON – March 23, 2020. In response to a new report released by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on fake medicines and the global illicit trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals, the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global), issued the following statement today:
The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic highlights a concurrent epidemic of misinformation spreading across the Internet. As consumers rush online for more information regarding symptoms, testing, and treatments for COVID-19, criminals are exploiting their fear and confusion to peddle false promises and fraudulent medical products.
Unfortunately, this practice isn’t new. The report Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products, released today by the EUIPO and OECD, shows that the $4B global illicit trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals is pervasive and longstanding. Fake medicines claiming to treat serious, sometimes life-threatening, acute and chronic ailments such as infections, diabetes, cancer, HIV, heart disease and other serious conditions are dangerous, if not deadly.
ASOP Global acknowledges the ongoing work commitment of EUIPO and OECD to bring attention to this important, timely issue and to advancing public health and patient safety measures. We commend OECD, EUIPO, and other partners in this fight to make the Internet a safe place to interact and do business.
Now more than ever, it is important that consumers seek out trusted sources for accurate information about COVID 19 and other health issues, like the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and Department of Justice warns consumers to ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites and offers additional guidance for what to do to guard against fraud. ASOP Global’s website also has resources for how to protect yourself and your loved ones when buying medicine online.
ABOUT ASOP GLOBAL
The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global), a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. with activities in U.S., Canada, Europe, India, Latin America and Asia, is dedicated to protecting consumers around the world, ensuring safe access to medications, and combating illegal online drug sellers. ASOP Global has an expansive membership including non-profit public health organizations, international members, pharmacy members, as well as pharmaceutical manufacturers.