Reference: Smugglers of fake medicine target Thailand, Bangkok Post, October 13, 2008
Drugs that are chemically identical to patented brand name drugs but are sold under a different name as a less expensive substitute are generic drugs and may not be described as either counterfeit or fake. Drugs that are identical to patented brand name drugs in chemical composition, appearance, and brand name but made without a license by another manufacturer are counterfeit drugs and may not be described as fake as long as they work. Drugs that do not contain the active ingredients claimed and are either placebo or even harmful are fake drugs. These distinctions need to be made because fake drugs are a public health issue whereas countefeit drugs constiture nothing more than an issue involving patent violation or the infringement of intellectual property rights. Generic drugs are often beneficial to society because they offer a cheaper alternative to essential medication. A reference to all three of these categories of pharmaceuticals as "fake" is misleading (Smugglers of fake medicine target Thailand, Bangkok Post, October 13, 2008).