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Fake Drug Kill Campaign

The problem of counterfeit medicines exists in both developed and developing countries. The World Health Organization estimates that fake drugs are associated with more than 200,000 malaria deaths worldwide each year alone. United States Government efforts to address this issue include the President’s Malaria Initiative under which the United States Agency for International Development is working with countries in the Mekong Region to strengthen their regulatory and detection systems to fight the proliferation and sale of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs. The full extent of the problem caused by counterfeit medicines and the impact on other medical conditions is unknown, however, since no global study has been carried out for all deaths that may be caused as a result of the use of counterfeit medicines.

Industry sources have reported a significant increase in the number of counterfeit drugs openly sold in Thailand, especially in areas frequented by foreign tourists. Tourists have a variety of reasons to purchase medicines from unlicensed vendors, such as price, ability to purchase without a prescription, and consumer anonymity. These factors are fueling the widespread availability of counterfeit medicines to tourists in Thailand.

The Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), funded and coordinated by the Regional Intellectual Property Attaché for Southeast Asia, will conduct a public awareness campaign aimed at foreign tourists to highlight the risks of counterfeit medicines purchased from unlicensed vendors. The campaign includes an advertisement on digital monitors and digital posters at several high density tourist locales, including the immigration arrival and baggage claim areas at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Siam Paragon, Siam Square Mall, Terminal 21 Mall, and the Central Festival Pattaya from December 1, 2013, through January 31, 2014.