A new study by pharmaceutical company Sanofi reveals that the majority of Americans are generally unaware of the dangers related to counterfeit medications -- a trend that causes up to 1 million deaths around the world each year.
Sanofi analyzed perceptions of counterfeit medicines among 1,500 individuals in July using an online poll.
More than half of respondents never heard of counterfeit medicines and associated counterfeiting with consumer goods, such as clothing. Additionally, just 12 percent of Americans said they have enough information on counterfeit medicines while 41 percent reported having no information at all.
Despite a little more than 80 percent believing they have never been exposed to counterfeit drugs, almost 60 percent thought that fake medicines could be found in traditional retail channels in the nation.
"Counterfeit medicines are crime against public health and a growing global crisis that affects all types of medical products and any therapeutic indication," Geoffroy Bessaud, associate vice president of anti-counterfeit coordination at Sanofi, said. "They can cause ineffective treatment, sometimes serious side effects, and in the worst cases, the patient's death. The findings of this study demonstrate that the burden is still too poorly perceived by populations as a whole, and underline the need for the public at large to be better informed about the risks involved."