On January 14, 2014, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched a new global campaign, Counterfeit: Don’t buy into organized crime, aimed at raising among consumers of the $250 billion a year illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods.
The campaign seeks to draw attention to the fact that as a consumer, each time you buy counterfeit goods, not only are you endangering your health and safety, you could potentially be funding organized criminal groups and contributing to other ethical and environmental concerns.
In a press release, the UNODC states that “the sale of fraudulent medicines from East Asia and the Pacific to South-East Asia and Africa alone amounts to some $5 billion per year. At the very least, fraudulent medicines have been found to contain no active ingredients, while at their worst they can contain unknown and potentially harmful chemicals. The list of fraudulent medicines is extensive, and can range from ordinary painkillers and antihistamines, to ‘lifestyle’ medicines, such as those taken for weight loss and sexual dysfunction, to life-saving medicines including those for the treatment of cancer and heart disease.