Life and Death

18 09 2012

A friend of mine recently emailed me this video about the fight against counterfeits in Europe. Many lifestyle and life saving drugs are being counterfeited. Here is a TV  documentary that is a MUST see. It came out in March of 2011, but it still prevalent, nonetheless. This video looks at countries all over the world. Below the video are a couple of stories written up from the video.

When dealing with a knock off t-shirt you are losing a few euros (dollars), but when dealing with counterfeit drugs you are dealing with lives.

A study from Austria say that 95% of medications offered without a prescription online are counterfeit. Some people are just embarassed to go to the doctor and tell them what is wrong and are trying to find an easier way to achieve what they want. One lady, from Hanover named Mary, turned to the internet and found a website that she could order Xenical for really cheap and did not need a prescription. Xenical (Orlistat) is used with an individualized low-calorie, low-fat diet and exercise program to help people lose weight. This lady was able to buy 60 pills (140 euros) at a really great deal. She took the pills she received and was upset they didn’t work. She got in touch with the company who sells this drug and told them about the website, where she purchased their product. They were counterfeit and a lawsuit was filed. This turned into a huge counterfeit drug seizure. They found a counterfeit drug ring and found more pharmacies were in trouble with people counterfeiting their products. More than 63,000 people were hurt by counterfeits. The counterfeit drug ring earned almost 14 million euros.

About 60% of drugs in Africa are counterfeit. The ministry of health does not have it under control and people seem stuck and only able to get their drugs from drug slums in local villages. In Nairobi the Germans (Doctors for Developing Countries) have set up a station in the slum. They send doctors to treat people, for free, who couldn’t pay for themselves. They do spot checks and want to make sure they are giving people drugs with the right ingredients.

China now is the most important country for manufacturing pharmaceuticals. The link between the manufacturer and the pharmacist can be very windy and long. Itzehoe in northern Germany, in 2005, a pharmacist (Peter Jebens) here was offered a drug used in cancer treatment. A short while later he received a sample from Dubai and said “made in Switzerland”. He noticed small differences between the sample and the original Swiss product. The pharmaceutical wholesaler talked to his partner and immediately sent the sample to a clinic. It turned out to be counterfeit. It contained NO active ingredients at all. The pharmacist tried to contact the man who talked to gave him the fake drugs and the man didn’t care, he said the people with cancer would die anyways and it didn’t matter if it contained the correct ingredients or not. He and his family were threatened and received phone calls and strangers were around his company premises. He lost so much money and was in so much debt. His license was revoked and his wife died. He lost everything in half a year.

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