Drug Resistant: We are in trouble

19 10 2009

It is said that most of the data of epidemiology of counterfeited drugs are kept secret through the pharmaceutical industries and governmental agencies. Drug companies will hire investigators to find counterfeiters and will shut them down. Usually this occurs in private. According to the WHO the types of drugs that are most commonly forged include antibiotics, antimalarials, hormones, antiviral, anticancer, and steroids. The counterfeiters typically take chalk, various chemicals, or anything they can put their hands on and package these up to look like real drugs and then sell them to consumers. Most of these drugs do not help at all and sometimes can be toxic; even lethal. These drugs are becoming a leading cause in people being disease resistant and not healing. (More info in ACSH: Counterfeit Drugs, Coming to a Pharmacy Near You article).

“No one asks whether deaths are attributable to fake medicines,” says Graham Satchwell the former head of Scotland’s Yard’s organized crime group. People just assume that the disease was the cause of death. In Britain, the problems with counterfeit drugs have increased greatly in 2008. This is called a silent epidemic by the WHO. They have tied their problem with counterfeit drugs to China. These drugs head over to the UK and potentially change hands up to 30 times, and are repackaged to look perfect, before actually coming into the hands of the British chemist. Interpol’s secretary-general, Ronald Noble, has recently had an anti-counterfeiting conference in Africa and has admitted at how shocked he was that this problem is greater than terrorism. In the past forty years or so terrorism has killed around 65,000 people, but in one year alone counterfeit drugs in China have killed over 200,000 people. Britain does not know exactly the amount of counterfeit drugs that have killed its citizens and Britain is not the greatest at checking items that enter the UK. It is said that about 0.1% of items that come through customs are physically checked by officers, this leaves the UK very vulnerable. Police officials have said that the counterfeit drug dealings are in favor of the criminals. Police officials say this because there are not enough precautions taken when packages are entering their country.  The drugs are not being checked well enough and they are basically getting a free passage into the consumer’s hands.

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One response

12 11 2009
maryweidman

Wow! So many things that I can’t believe I’m just now founding out about. Thanks for sharing!

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