Educating the general public about fake medicines

Endemic in developing countries, the counterfeiting of medicines now affects the official medicine distribution circuit in developed countries like the US and some European countries. In France, the official circuit is safe, and patients are still reimbursed for some medicines and pay relatively low prices. But on Internet or when travelling, anything can happen.

In 2015, IRACM began to address the general public, and therefore patients, to raise awareness of counterfeit medicines, the extent of which is still relatively unknown but gives cause for concern. This has enabled us to pass on precise messages to both national and international populations, and will continue to do so.


  • In 2015, the campaign entitled “What in the world is a fake medicine?” promoted awareness in the general public by publishing the first information booklet on counterfeit medicine specifically for patients.


A first nationwide campaign was rolled out in France for six months in 2015. The aim was to inform patients and the public in general about buying medicines on Internet and while travelling. A booklet full of tips was made available to patients in doctors’ and hospital waiting rooms. 180,000 copies of the booklet “What in the world is a fake medicine?” were published and read by patients and healthcare professionals. A quiz, a poster, a website and a special edition of the campaign for the press, social networks and blogs were also added.

This campaign aimed initially at French people recorded over 47,000 visits on the dedicated website in 7 months, from 130 countries of the five continents. The first booklet on fake medicines in France has 16 pages and reaches an estimated 12 million people. 

See the website of the campaign and the page dedicated to this campaign.

Find out more.


  • In 2015 and 2016, the film “The Allfakes” created a buzz on the social networks


With 95% of illegal online pharmacies and the sale of non-prescription medicines on Internet authorised in France since January 2013, IRACM has supplemented the campaign launched in France in 2015 with an educational film on the three “lifestyle” medicines most commonly ordered Internet: slimming pills, muscle-building drugs and treatment for erectile dysfunction. Other products can also be bought on Internet in Europe: anti-inflammatories, analgesics, antiseptics and medical equipment.

This comic sitcom-style film shows a French family in which three members tried buying so-called lifestyle drugs on Internet. The film is the second chapter in the campaign “What in the world is a fake medicine?” – the first of its kind – and focuses on the risks incurred on Internet.

The video has been viewed over 3 million times on social networks.

Find out more.