International Action Needed to Fight Fake Drugs

By Catherine Cheney, on , Trend Lines

Ahead of a World Health Organization summit bringing 100 countries together for the first meeting of member states on falsely labeled medical products, a group of public health experts is calling for an international treaty on substandard and counterfeit medicines.

Some countries have laws prohibiting the sale of fake medicines, but, as the BBC reports, the lack of an international treaty allows organized criminal networks to sell fake drugs out of countries with weak laws. There have been multiple instances of mass deaths due to fake drugs, including in 2008, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration documented 81 deaths and 600 allergic reactions (.pdf) to counterfeit heparin, a drug that prevents blood clotting . ...

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