According to a Pfizer-sponsored survey, western Europeans spend an estimated 10.5 billion Euros on counterfeit medicines in a year. These medicines contain the wrong or even toxic ingredients that resulted in health threat worldwide, particularly in poor countries, according to the World Health Organization.
The most prescription-only drugs without a prescription are bought by Germans and Italians either by the Internet or on overseas trips, in nightclubs, in shops and via friends. One in five of the 14,000 people surveyed, equating to
77 million people in the total population, admitted that they buy prescription-only medicines from illegal sources.
Almost half of the fake drugs obtained on the Internet were weight-loss treatments. People generally go on for online shopping to save time and money. The company's UK medical director David Gillen mentioned that 23% of those surveyed do not even recognize that taking prescription-only medicines without a prescription is a hazardous activity.
"There is a clear need for greater public awareness and education. People are not only unaware of the very real dangers of counterfeit medicines, but also that they're fuelling an illegal and harmful criminal market", said David Gillen.