In response to a request by the World Health Assembly, WHO's Division of Drug Management & Policies and the Drug Action Programme have established a joint programme to prevent and detect counterfeit pharmaceutical products. One of the activities of this programme has been the establishment in 1992 of a data base to serve Member States in their efforts to combat this practice internationally. Sources of the material in the data base differ but the majority of the material comes from regulatory authorities, professional associations, manufacturers, nongovernmental organizations and articles in the published literature.
The number of reports which WHO has compiled varies each year, but it is encouraging to note that the number is increasing rapidly. For reasons of security, reports must remain confidential, but they are of considerable value in providing statistical information and orienting authorities and interested parties to the kind of products which will be targeted by counterfeiters. As shown below, the majority of detected counterfeit products are also a country's best selling medicines.
Pharmacotherapeutic classes of cases