Saturday, February 24, 2007


South-east Asia awash with fake drugs

‘An “epidemic” of counterfeit therapeutic drugs is sweeping south-east Asia, costing hundreds of thousands of lives as victims take them under the mistaken belief that they are receiving vital treatment for their illnesses. A British doctor working in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, found that most of the anti-malarial medicines tested in a sample were sophisticated fakes, often displaying holograms on the packaging, originally aimed at making counterfeiting difficult.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 200,000 of the 1m malaria deaths each year would be prevented if all the drugs taken were genuine.

But the epidemic goes far beyond anti-malarials. [..]

Up to 50% of the drugs sold in Asia and Africa are fakes, in a trade estimated by the US Food and Drug Administration to be worth between $35bn and $44bn (£18.5bn-£23.1bn) annually. [..]’

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