Nafiu Aminu, Mahmud Sani Gwarzo


Counterfeit drugs (CDs) continue to cause serious public health problems in many countries around the globe, particularly in the African countries which are their major consumers. Soft penalties for the drug counterfeiters; recent increase in internet commerce; ignorance and lack of effective partnership between drug companies, drug regulatory agencies, law enforcement bodies, customs, among others, have contributed to the rise in counterfeiting menace. However, governments at various levels in some of the affected countries do not accede to the menace of CDs, as they are implementing many strategies through the recent innovations and advancement in technology to curtail it. Nevertheless, there is still needs for taking more rigorous steps to achieve complete eradication of the crime. This review article presented the impact of CDs in the Africa’s quality health-care delivery, with particular attention to the causes, magnitude, and consequences. The review also identifies areas where concerted drug policies and actions are required to eradicate the drug counterfeiting crimes and also provides suggestions to drug’s policymakers and relevant stakeholders that may be useful in making decisions that can safeguard the public from the danger of CDs.


Counterfeit drugs, Counterfeit pharmaceuticals, Fake drugs, Drugs trafficking, Counterfeiting in Africa, Drug regulatory affairs.

| PDF |


Peasgood S, Capital S. How Technology Can Protect Consumers and Pharma Companies from Fake Drugs. Cantech Lett 2015. Available from:

protect-consumers-and-pharma-companies-from-fake-drugs/. [Last accessed on 2016 Oct 29].

Scutti S. Global Problem of Counterfeit Drugs Affects Even Legitimate Sources, Such as Hospitals and Pharmacies. Med Dly 2015. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 11].

Mackey TK, Liang BA, York P, Kubic T. Counterfeit drug penetration into global legitimate medicine supply chains: A global assessment. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2015;92 6 Suppl:59-67.

Chaudhry P, Zimmerman A. The global growth of counterfeit trade. Protecting Your Intellectual Property Rights, Management for Professionals. New York: Springer Science+Business Media; 2013. p. 7-31.

World Health Organization. Growing threat from counterfeit medicines. Bull World Health Organ 2010;88:241-320.

Mhando L, Jande MB, Liwa A, Mwita S, Marwa KJ. Public awareness and identification of counterfeit drugs in Tanzania: A view on antimalarial drugs. Adv Public Heal 2016;2016:1-8.

International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT). Counterfeit Medicines: An Update on Estimates; 2006. Available from: impact/TheNewEstimatesCounterfeit.pdf. [Last accessed on 2016 Dec 11].

Akunyili D. Lessons from Nigeria: The fight against counterfeit drugs in Africa. Diabetes Soc 2006;51:41-3.

Sambira J. Counterfeit Drugs Raise Africa’s Temperature. Africa Renew Online; 2013. Available from: magazine/may-2013/counterfeit-drugs-raise-africa’s-temperature. [Last accessed on 2016 Nov 04].

World Health Organization. Report of the Situation of Counterfeit Medicines Based on Data Collection Tool. WHO 2010:1-27. Available from: pharmprep/WHO-ACM-3IMPACTSurveyDataCollectionToolReport. pdf. [Lasy accessed on 2016 Nov 08].

Blackstone EA, Fuhr JP Jr, Pociask S. The health and economic effects of counterfeit drugs. Am Health Drug Benefits 2014;7(4):216-24.

World Health Organization. Counterfeit Drugs. WHO; 1992. Available from: DMP_CFD_92.pdf. [Last accessed on 2017 Jan 10].

Akinyandenu O. Counterfeit drugs in Nigeria: A threat to public health. Afr J Pharm Pharmacol 2013;7:2571-6.

Bassat Q, Tanner M, Guerin PJ, Stricker K, Hamed K. Combating poor quality anti malarial medicines: A call to action. Malar J 2016;15:1-12.

Songara RK, Chauhan P. Counterfeit medicines: A regulatory perspective to global threat. Webmed Central Pharm Sci 2011;2:WMC002431.

Onwuka CJ. The Situation of Medicines Counterfeiting in Africa. University of London; 2010. p. 1-65. Available from: http://www.whpa. org/background_medicines_counterfeiting_in_africa_chioma_jo_ onwuka11-2010.pdf. [Last accessed on 2016 Nov 07].

Dolliver DS. Evaluating drug trafficking on the Tor Network: Silk Road 2, the sequel. Int J Drug Policy 2015;26(11):1113-23.

Kovacs S, Hawes SE, Maley SN, Mosites E, Wong L, Stergachis A. Technologies for detecting falsified and substandard drugs in low and middle-income countries. PLoS One 2014;9(3):e90601.

Masurkar P. A need of better pharmacovigilance system in India. Asian J Pharm Clin Res 2017;10:22-4.

Adjei HK, Ohene P. Counterfeit drugs: The relentless war in Africa. Pharm Pharmacol Int J 2015;2:16.

Mali DK, Mitkare SS, Moon RS. Anti-counterfeit packaging in pharma industry: Review. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2011;3:4-6.

Buckland D. The Global Scourge of Counterfeit Medicines; 2016. Available from: scourge_of_counterfeit_medicines_1145731. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 06].

Ogundipe S. Nigeria Leads in Fight Against Fake Drugs – NAFDAC DG. Vanguard Media Ltd.; 2011. Available from: http://www.vanguardngr. com/2011/07/nigeria-leads-in-fight-against-fake-drugs-nafdac-dg/. [Last accessed on 2016 Oct 12].

Atal S, Atal S, Deshmankar B, Nawaz SA. Cost analysis of commonly used drugs under price control in India: Assessing the effect of drug price control order on brand price variation. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2016;8:315-21.

Cockburn R, Newton PN, Agyarko EK, Akunyili D, White NJ. The global threat of counterfeit drugs: Why industry and governments must communicate the dangers. PLoS Med 2005;2(4):e100.

Erhun WO, Babalola OO, Erhun MO. Drug regulation and control in Nigeria: The challenge of counterfeit drugs. J Health Popul Dev Ctries 2001;4:23-34.

Corey CW. Counterfeit Drugs Pose Dangers in 90 Countries Worldwide. U S Dep State 2010. Available from: http://www.iipdigital.usembassy. gov/st/english/article/2010/10/20101014084206selrahc0.9264643. html#axzz3pTqPSZ8t. [Last accessed on 2016 Nov 01].

Seiter A. Health and economic consequences of counterfeit drugs. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2009;85(6):576-8.

Renschler JP, Walters KM, Newton PN, Laxminarayan R. Estimated under-five deaths associated with poor-quality antimalarials in sub- Saharan Africa. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2015;92 6 Suppl:119-26.

Child K. Fake Drugs Flood SA. Times Live; 2015. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 Oct 15].

Mwamba P, Duez P, Kalonji JB. Preliminary survey of counterfeiting of albendazole and metronidazole marketed in lubumbashi. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2016;8:282-7.

Meeking L. Counterfeit economy: The impacts of counterfeit goods on African society: Africa-wide - featured analysis. Afr Confl Mon Monit 2013;2013:8-12.

Wilson JM, Fenoff R. The health and economic effects of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in Africa. Michigan State Univ 2011:1-2. Available from: africabackgrounderfinal.pdf. [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 23].

Health24. Counterfeit Medicine Threatens Africa. Health24; 2014. Available from: News/Counterfeit-medicine-threatens-Africa-20140619. [Last accessed on 2016 Nov 08].

Alubo SO. Death for sale: A study of drug poisoning and deaths in Nigeria. Soc Sci Med 1994;38(1):97-103.

Bonati M. Once again, children are the main victims of fake drugs. Arch Dis Child 2009;94(6):468.

World Health Organization. Health Topics: Antimicrobial Resistance. WHO; 2017. Available from: resistance/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 05].

Faucon B, Murphy C, Whalen J. Africa’s Malaria Battle: Fake Drug Pipeline Undercuts Progress. Wall Str J 2013. Available from: http:// 28204. [Last accessed 2016 Dec 27].

Counterfeit Anti Infective Drugs. An Awareness Campaign about the Growing Problem of “Fake” Drugs. C-AID; 2017. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Feb 05].

World Health Organization. International Medical Products Anti- Counterfeiting Taskforce — IMPACT. Highlights; 2011. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 Nov 05].

Passmore PR, Kailis SG. In pursuit of rational drug use and effective drug management: Clinical and public health pharmacy viewpoint. Asia Pac J Public Health 1994;7:236-41.

Kamuhabwa AR, Ignace AM. Dispensing practice of prescribed medicines in the private pharmacies in urban areas of Tanzania. Indian J Pharm Sci 2015;77:542-9.

Zulkifli NW, Aziz NA, Hassan Y, Hassali MA, Bahrin NL. Do current awareness and educational program towards unregistered drugs effective for public? Pharmacists’ perceptive. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2016;8:81-5.

About this article




Counterfeit drugs, Counterfeit pharmaceuticals, Fake drugs, Drugs trafficking, Counterfeiting in Africa, Drug regulatory affairs.





Additional Links

Manuscript Submission


Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research
Vol 10 Issue 7 July 2017 Page: 63-67

Print ISSN


Online ISSN



82 Views | 28 Downloads

Authors & Affiliations

Nafiu Aminu
Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Usmanu anfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria.

Mahmud Sani Gwarzo
Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria.

Article Tools

Email this article (Login required)
Email the author (Login required)


  • There are currently no refbacks.