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Piracy is an issue that affects all industries, from the audiovisual industry to clothing, food and medication. In fact, according to data provided by Cristophe Zimmermann, Deputy Director of Development, Government and Institutions for consultancy firm Societé Géneralé de Surveillance in Mexico (SGS) at a conference entitled ‘Key Factors of Illicit Trade’, at least 10% of all medicines sold globally are fake.

“On a global scale, 10% of drugs that are commercialized online are fake, but there are countries where the percentage climbs between 30% and 40%,” explained the executive, noting that in developing countries, like some countries in Africa, the numbers increase dramatically.

The sale of pirated drugs happens mostly online and, in some cases, it is a much more lucrative trade than many may think. “Never buy drugs through online platforms, which is where these kinds of product are mostly detected,” he explains.

“Online stores do their best to avoid this type of piracy, but they move thousands of products a day, it is very difficult for them to control, even when talking about the most popular website,” he adds.

Most of these products are not only ineffective, but in many cases, they can cause serious harm to the health of consumers because they are made with materials that are not suitable for consumption, such as cement and paint.

“If we look at the data for health in Mexico we have more and more cancer cases, more malformations and a lot of that is because we are buying products that are fake,” explained Yael Anahí Gutiérrez, Director of ForeignTtrade at SGS Mexico, who also added that, for the time being, the company has not managed to pin point accurate figures for pirate medication consumed in the country.

However, she does point out that Mexico is one of the Top 10 countries in terms of consumption of pirated goods, but there is also internal counterfeiting, mainly of tequila.

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