Patient Awareness Campaigns

ASOP EU Participants bring with them, much experience in awareness-raising activities, all contributing to making the internet a safer place for patients.  Here, we spotlight these, and other great campaigns from around the globe.

The European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines - EAASM ( have been extremely active in raising awareness of the patient safety risks associated with illegitimate online pharmacies.  In 2008, it undertook a project that aimed to find out just what would arrive, if a "patient" went online and ordered prescription medicines (without a prescription) from an online "pharmacy".  The results of the test purchase experiment were published in a report, "The Counterfeiting Superhighway" and were covered extensively by the media.  The project was featured in (and repeated for) BBC 1's prime-time programme, "Fake Britain".  You can read the report here.

Building on this success, in 2011-12, the EAASM returned to the internet.  As the debate raged around the safety of online pharmacy - and indeed whether it should be permitted in EU Member States - they conducted a patient safety audit of standards in five EU countries.  In two of these, Germany and the UK, there is a licensed trade in prescription medicines online.  In the other three, France, Italy and Spain, there is not.  The outcomes of this audit were shocking and were subsequently published by the EAASM.  The many questions posed can be found in the eponymous, damning report, "Discounted or Dangerous?" 

Fighting the fakers at their own game, in 2011 the EAASM began developing a project to demonstrate exactly how easy it is to create an illegal online "pharmacy" capable of attracting would-be customers and generating a huge income.  It was decided to run the covert website in a single country - Germany.  It could only be found by people searching for medicines online.  The project - "Counterfeiting the Counterfeiter" - took many months to prepare and launch, and the website was actively promoted for a nine week period.  The results were then publicised via an online, radio and print media campaign.  During its 9 week active lifespan, the website, achieved over 90% market penetration, "dispensing" vital patient information about the dangers of the online space and helping patients to find legitimate online and offline sources of medicines.  The website can be viewed here.

The "Counterfeiting the Counterfeiter" project was a remarkable undertaking and a remarkable success in terms of accessing would-be buyers of medicines online and raising awareness of this potentailly very dangerous environment.  Its story is told in a comprehensive EAASM report, which can be viewed here.

On Christmas Day 2006,  Justin Pearson, a 24yr old from Minnesota, died as a result of a prescription drug overdose.  Justin had bought the drugs from an illegal website and his story inspired the national Association of Boards of Pharmacy, to form its campaign, AWARxE.  The campaign has many excellent patient safety tools, and can be accessed here.

The MHRA has collaborated with Pfizer to produce a hard-hitting awareness-raising video highlighting the dangers of falsified medicines and urging patients to "Get Real!"  You can view the video and the rest of the campaign materials here.






News from ASOP EU

New scientific article aims to help simplify fake medicine terminology

4 Apr 2017

A new in depth analysis of the evolution of the descriptions applied to falsified, counterfeit and fake medicines has just been published. It aims to help clarify and simplify this hitherto controversial area. With the number of increasing illegally operating websites selling medicines across the world clear and easy to understand descriptors which will help to make public awareness raising campaigns more effective.

ASOP EU member adopts top level domain name .pharmacy

23 Mar 2017

To help ensure absolute security and recognition of a genuine fully legal online seller of medicines, the web page of the European Association of Mail Service Pharmacies (EAMSP) recently became the first in Europe to switch its Top Level Domain to .pharmacy. 

EAASM and ASOP EU to be present at the 22nd Congress of the European Association Of Hospital Pharmacists 22-24 March 2017.

10 Mar 2017

Mike Isles will be speaking on “Falsified Medicines: The Role of the Pharmacist in Raising Patient Awareness.




ASOP EU Members


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