As of December 2015, around 920 suspected SSFFC (Substandard, Spurious, Falsely labelled, Falsified and Counterfeit) pharmaceutical products have been reported to the WHO (World Health Organization). However, this number is pretty low compared to the whole amount of counterfeit pills currently on the market. Dr. Jamie Barras, a researcher from Kings College London, made this statement:
”It’s like an iceberg. The visible part of the problem is the drugs that are detected, which can run into the millions of pills every year, but what we can’t see are the drugs that go undetected.”
Most counterfeit pills are sold on dark net marketplaces, however, the buyers do not know what they are buying, according to the research by Kings College.
”Drugs often go through several hands before they reach the consumer; this could be years after they are manufactured,” added Dr. Barras.
Also, the problem could be that most of the counterfeit pills are sold as original ones, however, they are not. This could cause several issues for the consumers of the substances.
Dr. Barras is also the technical manager of the EU-funded CONPHIRMER project, which developed a handheld scanner to detect counterfeit medical products. The scanner uses radio waves to record a digital