Safe.Pharmacy, a website dedicated to protecting individuals with safe medication tools and resources, is announcing today its first PSA aimed at combating counterfeit medications. The PSA, “Bad Meds” – the fakest movie ever created – will run across TV, social media, radio, print and out-of-home, and features award-winning actor Danny Trejo, who is on a mission to raise consumer awareness about the dangers of counterfeit medicine.
Forensic lab testing reveals that four out of every ten counterfeit pills contain a potentially lethal dose of harmful ingredients. In fact, according to The World Health Organization, more than one million deaths occur annually from counterfeit or substandard medicine and drugs. With the COVID-19 pandemic driving more than half of American consumers to purchase medicine online and 95% of the world’s 35,000 online pharmacies operating illegally, the risk of receiving “Bad Meds” is greater than ever before.
“I’ve lost so many friends, and as someone who has seen it from both sides of the fence, it has gotten so much worse over the years,” said Trejo. “This partnership that we’ve developed is what really needs to continue around the world. Since I’ve partnered with the LA County Sheriff’s Department in the past to help rehabilitate individuals, this PSA felt like a natural fit for me to participate in. I’m dedicated to making a difference, especially when it comes to illegal and counterfeit drugs, and I’m excited to see others are just as committed as I am to ending this horrible problem that only continues to get worse.”
With the help of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Alliance of Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), The Department of Homeland Security, The National Intellectual Property Rights Center, Crime Stoppers and the Los Angeles Police Department, “Bad Meds” came to life. The PSA, which showcases fake movie sets with Trejo at the forefront, is focused on targeting vulnerable patients, including minority and homeless communities who are more at-risk for receiving counterfeit drugs.
“People are constantly looking for cheaper access to medicine, especially these days, and the internet is the outlet valve for that search,” said Libby Baney, Senior Advisor and Co-Founder of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies. “Internet criminals know that people go online for three reasons: convenience, cost and access to care. Counterfeit medicines are rampant, and the risks are exponentially greater when you go online. We need to make it simple for people to find a safe site, and Safe.Pharmacy makes it really easy to verify before you buy. Danny Trejo cares about this – this is an issue that transcends Hollywood and is a reminder that everyone needs to hear this message and care about this.”
In addition to the aforementioned partners, The Department of Homeland Security is set to continue its efforts to combat illicit drugs that have been causing record-breaking deaths around the world. Newly elected L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna and his dedicated team, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department are also active members of the partnership, helping lead the charge on changing how individuals view medications and helping them understand the safety issues that exist when it comes to purchasing them online.
“It’s not the traditional brick and mortar pharmacy anymore, so people from all walks of life are buying pharmaceuticals online through companies they don’t know just because the website may look good, and that gets dangerous,” said Geoffrey Deedrick, Captain of the Counterfeit and Piracy Enforcement Team at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “We need everyone to understand that this problem exists and that it’s not a small problem, but one that could really kill you. So education is of the utmost importance. This campaign is the epitome of a public-private partnership: people like Danny Trejo make it easy to connect with everyone and showcase the importance of accessing safe medication. The purpose of ‘Bad Meds’ is to save lives and ensure people get the right medications, because the wrong ones could be deadly.”
“Bad Meds,” which was developed by creative studio The-Artery will run across a variety of platforms, including social media and influencer marketing, and the campaign will also be featured in print, press, television, radio and out-of-home placements that include transit and a live billboard roadblock in Times Square. The still image – a movie-like poster touting the subhead “The Story of a Fake” – will lead viewers directly to the video where they can easily access the safe.pharmacy website. With an ongoing social campaign educating viewers on ‘how to spot a fake,’ social assets will give step-by-step instructions alongside an animated screen to make the process of visiting safe.pharmacy fool-proof for the audience, ultimately saving more people from Bad Meds.