Counterfeiting and pirated products pose a risk to consumers

Counterfeiting and piracy is no longer just about luxury clothes or bags. Today, almost all sorts of products are being copied.

Many products are manufactured in such a way that deviations may have fatal consequences for consumers. These products are usually subject to certain standards and authorisations. This is the case with food stuffs, beverages, medicines, hygienic products, toys, electrical components and apparatus as well as components for cars and airplanes.

Contrary to the manufacturers of original products, IPR criminals usually do not comply with health and safety regulations. Therefore, counterfeit and pirated products can be hazardous to the health and safety of consumers. In addition, the consumers, buyers and importers have no way of finding out, if the products meet the particular safety regulations. Examples of the CE mark being misused also exist.

The CE mark on a product signifies that the product is manufactured to meet the joint European minimum standard of health and safety. Many products cannot be marketed within the EU/EEC, unless they carry a CE mark. The certification scheme includes toys, building materials, and electrical and medical products. These days counterfeiting is so professional that the CE mark is copied alongside with products and trademarks. Thus, the CE mark on a counterfeit product is not a guarantee that the product meets the European standard. Eg counterfeit electronics and machines may pose a safety risk, because they may break down, explode, self ignite etc. For a number of goods, the risk consists in the products containing substances, which have not been approved. These include clothes or toys which contain illegal dyes or hygienic products containing illegal chemical substances. Contact with these products may sometimes lead to allergic reactions.

Counterfeit medicines are dangerous. They are beyond the control of authorities and often contain no active ingredients. Alternatively, they may contain active ingredients, but in the wrong dose and combination. Counterfeit medicine generally arrive in Denmark after being purchased on the Internet.

However, we have also discovered one potential case of counterfeit medicine in the legal distribution chain in Denmark. The case was form 2012 and concerned a batch of HIV medicine. Unfortunately, it was not possible to verify, if the batch was counterfeit, as the pharmaceutical was used up.

For more information about counterfeit medicine, see The Danish Medicines Agency’s website.


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