Online Pharmaceutical Market and the Dangers of Counterfeit Medicines


Offizielle Daten in der Fachveröffentlichung für das folgende akademische Jahr: 2023-2024


  • Dr. András Tamás FITTLER

    associate professor,
    Department of Pharmaceutics and University Pharmacy


Vorlesungen: 7

Praktika: 7

Seminare: 0

Insgesamt: 14


  • Kode des Kurses: OPE-OPM-T
  • 1 kredit
  • Pharmacy
  • Elective modul
  • both semesters

OPG-GI1-T completed

Zahl der Kursteilnehmer für den Kurs:

min. 5 – max. 50

Erreichbar als Campus-Kurs für 10 fő számára. Campus-karok: ÁOK ÁJK BTK ETK KTK MIK


Thousands of internet pharmacies are accessible on the web, and a vast number of illegitimate vendors overwhelm the market of online pharmaceuticals. This illegal market segment operates within an uncontrolled environment, with no restrictions on vendors, consumers or products, in which practically anyone can purchase any type of medication – including counterfeit drugs – without a prescription, medical supervision or appropriate diagnosis, consequently compromising patient and medication safety. International and national authorities lack efficient tools to discover and shut down illicit pharmacy websites and stop the illicit trade of counterfeit medicines. Accordingly, advanced computational methods are needed to detect and mitigate cybercriminal activity, and efficient inter-disciplinary communication and public awareness campaigns to inform consumers.
The course will provide insight into the current issues of the online pharmaceutical market and the dangers of counterfeit medicines. Real world data on legitimate and rogue online pharmacies, various stakeholders, networks, products and information content will be introduced, along with the discussion of measures combating illegal peddling of pharmaceuticals.
Students can access resources for their individual and group assignment, further the slides of the lectures and further reading material on a designated web based interface (Moodle).


  • 1. Introduction to the issues of counterfeit medicines and illegal online sales, the roles of pharmacists and collaboration. Databases and useful resources to evaluate the extent of the SF problem. - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 2. Defining substandard & falsified medicines. International significance of SF medicines. - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 3. Challenges of protecting supply chain integrity and combatting Substandard & Falsified medicines. Health consequences of SF Medicines - Dr. Vida Róbert György
  • 4. Nomenclature and categorization of online pharmacies. Identifying stakeholders of the market. - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 5. Nomenclature and stakeholders of the market. Verification systems in the online pharmacy ecosystem. - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 6. Evaluation of international pharmacy networks on the internet, applications of data science methods (lecturer: Prof. Dr Péter Iványi, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology) - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 7. Frequency and attitudes of consumers/patients purchasing medications online. Complex risk assessment of the online pharmaceutical market. - Dr. Fittler András Tamás


  • 1. Nomenclature and categorization of online pharmacies. Identifying stakeholders of the market. (individual assignment)
  • 2. Evaluation of the potential benefits and risks from various aspects. SWOT analysis from patient/consumer’s, authority and online vendor’ perspective (group work)
  • 3. Importance of the closed drug supply chain and identification of the global threats of integrity (group work)
  • 4. The problem and prevalence of counterfeiting and falsifying of medicinal products – Introduction of project work on the international significance of counterfeit drugs and potential countermeasures
  • 5. Technologies against counterfeit medicine. Introduction and assessment of national and international verification systems of online vendors (group work)
  • 6. Assessment of search engine result pages, online vendor characteristics and product information. Application of a complex risk assessment methodology for project work.
  • 7. Presentation and discussion of project works: e.g. Evaluation of hazards associated with medicinal products sourced via the internet, Fighting the global trade of counterfeit medicines, etc.


Materialien zum Aneignen des Lehrstoffes

Obligatorische Literatur

Vom Institut veröffentlichter Lehrstoff

List of study aids to acquire curriculum and all presentations are available in Moodle


Empfohlene Literatur

“Attitudes and behaviors regarding online pharmacies in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic: At the tipping point towards the new normal” in Frontiers in Pharmacology;
“Prevalence of Poisoned Google Search Results of Erectile Dysfunction Medications Redirecting to Illegal Internet Pharmacies” in Journal of Medical Internet Research;
“Stakeholders of the Online Pharmaceutical Market” as a book chapter in Telehealth and Telemedicine - The Far-Reaching Medicine for Everyone and Everywhere (IntechOpen).
"Developing a framework regarding a complex risk based methodology in the evaluation of hazards associated with medicinal products sourced via the internet" in Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal

Voraussetzung zum Absolvieren des Semesters

Acceptance of term/semester:
- Regular attendance of classes, student should be able to work project-oriented and independently.
- Assignments and project work given in class should be carried out during term-time
- Presentation of project work


There are no midterm tests, however participants will present their individual and group assignments and prepare for their project work.

Möglichkeiten zur Nachholung der Fehlzeiten

There is an opportunity to make up for a limited number of absences following personal discussion.


Grade will be determined based on individual and project works, further the completion of self-evaluation tests in Moodle.


Praktika, Seminarleiter/innen

  • Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • Dr. Vida Róbert György