US-based pharmaceutical major Pfizer, alongside the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), has launched a new anti-counterfeiting campaign focused on educating consumers through YouTube.

Pfizer noted that estimated sales of counterfeit medicines exceeded $75bn in 2010, equating to a 90% increase over 2005 figures, with counterfeit drugs being readily available on the internet shouldering the blame.

Conducting research into the market for counterfeit drugs, Pfizer purchased and tested Viagra tablets from 26 pharmacy websites, found using two internet search engines, to find that 81% were selling counterfeit versions of the drug.

Pfizer and NABP’s campaign will establish a YouTube channel designed to educate consumers in protecting themselves from purchasing counterfeit drugs, as well as renewed efforts to force takeovers of websites used by counterfeiters.