HI: Counterfeit Drugs in Cambodia 4:00, 2018 (Ref: AS18859)


Counterfeit drugs are a big problem in Cambodia. Drugs companies are joining forces with Customs officers to combat fake drugs.

We went on a drugs raid.


The Cambodian police, the Ministry of Health and Customs officials in partnership with the French government and supported by pharmaceutical companies are carrying out raids and going under cover in local pharmacies to fight the huge rise in counterfeit drugs.

Using the latest technology they can detect fake drugs in seconds.

The World Health Organisation describes counterfeit drugs as a “global problem that puts human lives at risk”.

An Interpol operation carried out in South East Asian countries, including Cambodia, seized twelve million fake medicines, including painkillers, antimalarials and antibiotics.


We went to Cambodia to find out how available counterfeit drugs are in the capital Phnom Penh. In order to show us, local officials in partnership with a multi-national drugs company sent an undercover agent into a number of pharmacies.

In one pharmacy, the agent bought statins, for lowering cholesterol, which they suspect are fake. They wanted to check whether they are counterfeit as quickly as possible. So they try out a machine belonging to Pfizer, which can detect fake drugs in seconds.

Nobody knows how many fake drugs there are in Cambodia, but the World Health Organisation estimates that in certain parts of South America, Africa and Asia, counterfeit drugs make up more than thirty percent of the market.