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Falsified medicines in Colombia – analysis from an anti-corruption perspective

This research represents a first exploration exercise on the phenomenon of drug falsification in Colombia from an anti-corruption and transparency perspective. The study found that promote the commercialisation of illegitimate pharmaceutical products. Yet they operate reactively due to the absence of a regulatory framework that considers this phenomenon explicitly. This work identifies general areas in which the public and private sectors must strengthen their collaborative work to offer greater protection of the health and lives of citizens against the infiltration of falsified medicines, both in the legal and illegal – physical and virtual – markets.

Also available in Spanish
20 December 2022
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Falsified medicines in Colombia – analysis from an anti-corruption perspective

Main points

  • Colombia must recognise drug falsification as a problem of corruption, transparency and accountability that invites all actors, public and private, to take proactive action to counter this phenomenon.
  • The country lacks reliable and standardised information to estimate the prevalence of drug falsification. This information gap prevents the government from proposing or justifying more significant investments to strengthen the institutional response to this critical public health problem.
  • Inter-institutional strengthening and articulation are needed based on a modern public policy, with precise objectives, goals and responsibilities. This policy should adopt good practices and international terminologies to counter corruption related to the falsification of pharmaceutical products.
  • E-commerce and the digital media advertising of falsified products constitute Colombian authorities’ most significant challenge. The current regulatory framework does not give the government the ability to respond to the growing number of fake products marketed on the internet.

Cite this publication

García Ruiz, J.; (2022) Falsified medicines in Colombia – analysis from an anti-corruption perspective. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2022:7)

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About the author

Johnattan García Ruiz

Johnattan is an independent researcher and consultant in global health and health systems. He is a visiting scientist associated with the Takemi Program in International Health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. He has been a professor of law and global health at the Universidad de los Andes School of Law and a professor of global health at the Universidad del Rosario School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Colombia. He holds a law degree from Universidad de los Andes (Colombia), a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from Harvard University, and an MBA from the University of Oxford.


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This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)