Accra: the rise of counterfeit pharmaceuticals


The manufacture and proliferation of counterfeit drugs for malaria, typhoid, HIV, and other killer diseases has increased the risks of people dying from these diseases. The threat posed by counterfeit medicines disproportionately affects developing countries, and West African countries are some of the hardest hit in the world.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 800 000 otherwise avoidable deaths occur every year, as people take fake medicines. These ‘drugs’ are less expensive and more accessible than the genuine thing.

In 2013, the European Union ranked Ghana as the sixth largest producer of fake drugs in the world. Estimated to worth between US$200 billion and US$400 billion annually, the illegal trade in counterfeit medicines is drives a lucrative criminal economy. Accounting for as much as 30% of the market in Africa, counterfeit pharmaceuticals weaken the efforts of governments, drug companies and civil society to improve access to medication.

A new ENACT policy brief, titled The Rise of Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals in Africa will be launched at this seminar, with a focus on implications for Ghana and West Africa.


Eric Pelser, ENACT Programme Head, Institute for Security Studies


Enquiries: Martin Ewi – [email protected]

Photo © NIAID / Flickr 

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ENACT is implemented by the Institute for Security Studies in partnership with
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