Fake Drug Rings on the Rise

Fake Drug Rings on the Rise

Fake Drug Rings on the Rise

A report by the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) says that counterfeit drugs are becoming a worldwide problem.  The report says that last year almost 1,700 reports of fake drugs were reported, more than three times the number of cases in 2004.  The report estimates that the counterfeit drug market ranges from $75 billion to $200 billion annually.

PSI expects that the problem will only get worse as counterfeiters continue to get more advanced in their methods.  Part of the problem is the technology available to counterfeiters as they can easily reproduce the drugs, safety, and security devices drug companies use.  However, the report also indicates that part of the problem is that so many cases go unreported.

The majority of counterfeit drugs were found to be in emerging countries, specifically where the high cost of drugs combined with the massive number of people with no health care make the cheaper counterfeits an easier sell.  PSI estimated that the counterfeiting rings in China and India produced fake versions of at least 800 different pharmaceuticals last year alone.

While the majority of the problem may exist in underdeveloped countries, developed nations are still at risk.  The Internet is the most common way for the drugs to be sold in developed nations, and the counterfeiters have cashed in.  The rising cost of medications and the high unemployment rates are thought to have been part of the reason that more counterfeit drugs were purchased in United States last year than ever before.

PSI has said that the fake drugs are often detrimental to the health of those taking them.  Often times the fake drugs contain the wrong dosages or no dose at all.

Countries in Asia, where the majority of the counterfeiting rings are based, have introduced new laws and stepped up surveillance while starting to crack down on the fake drug makers.

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