Share this: FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail
Counterfeit pill availability in the United States is increasing, including recent incidents involving HIV medications

September 13, 2023 – ADAP Advocacy, in collaboration with the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), is calling for more awareness over counterfeit medicines in the United States. Data recently shared in the MMWR [ Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report] highlights a growing problem, which is potentially contributing to overdose deaths. Aside from some high-profile cases involving criminal enterprises pushing fake HIV medications, counter feit pill availability is rising in the drug supply chain, but also the illicit drug market.

Summarized ADAP Advocacy Association’s CEO, Brandon M. Macsata: “Unlike counterfeit opioid pills which often kill instantly, counterfeit HIV medications will victimize patients silently and slowly. Treatment failure, with a whole host of health events, will be the only clue a patient and their physician will notice. Because the U.S. medicine supply is the safest in the world, they may not even suspect counterfeit HIV medicine.”

Macsata further noted that ADAP Advocacy is deeply concerned with the findings highlighted in the MMWRand they support the need for better overdose prevention messaging. The growing presence of counterfeit pills, often resembling the authentic pills manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, are clearly “complicating the illicit drug market and potentially contributing to these deaths.”

Shabbir Imber Safdar, Executive Director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, and ADAP Advocacy board member, added: “In the last year we’ve seen foreign counterfeiters attempt to fool Americans with counterfeit versions of medicines used to treat heart conditions, HIV, cancer, and arthritis, all with English packaging. But we’ve also seen innovative successes in patient safety, including shutting down criminals who sell fake HIV meds with trademark infringement lawsuits and using the Drug Supply Chain Security Act to detect fraudulent product. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, but we’re seeing success on the enforcement side as well.”

ADAP Advocacy and PSM have been collaborating for several years on raising awareness about the dangers behind counterfeit medications – including blogs, infographics, video alerts, and policy briefings. They’ve included:

Information about drug overdose deaths with evidence of counterfeit pill use made available by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) can be read online at

To learn more about ADAP Advocacy, AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, or counterfeit medicines, please email