Apco Worldwide loader

A Global Biopharma Company

Disrupting the counterfeit medicine market to keep patients safe.


How do you ensure the safety of the approximately two million Americans who may encounter counterfeit prescriptions each year, especially with seizures of fake pills doubling in recent years and more consumers turning to online pharmacies despite 95% of them operating illegally? ​A global biopharma company approached APCO to create a paradigm-shifting campaign to educate the public and health care providers on how to identify legitimate online sources while carefully protecting views of the country’s well-protected supply chain and supporting behavior that embraces remote health care services. ​


Given the online relevance of the topic, APCO conducted a digital landscape analysis of the conversations that informed messaging for the campaign strategy, allowing the company to better understand how communications and discussions about the issue are already occurring in social spaces. From this, APCO refined messages through focus groups with key audiences: primary care and specialty physicians, pharmacists, policy elites and consumers. These conversations reinforced that purchase of online counterfeits are an inadvertent consequence of actions that value life-saving medications, which allowed for open and positive discussions that emphasize education and avoid potential pitfalls of placing blame or focusing on misuse.


  • Focus groups
  • Survey
  • Predictive analytics
  • Digital landscape analysis


APCO worked collaboratively with a global biopharma company to create a succinct message house, activation plan and collateral that was implemented within rapid completion of the research insight. Since then, the company has taken a leadership role in the fight against counterfeit medicines through positive, clear education for consumers that humanizes the victims of counterfeits and offers tools for detecting legitimate retailers through the “No Fakes for Health’s Sake” campaign. At the same time, this toolset has been shared with groups throughout the supply chain, allowing for a coordinated and effective strategy that builds public trust and furthers the company’s role as an activist for patient safety.