Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Fake Drug Menace

In China Counterfeiters are turning out bogus 'life-saving' medicines.

In Part 1 of a two-part special report, Straits Times correspondent Grace Ng focus on the huge underground trade in China of fake pharmaceutical drugs and the dangers it poses to the population.

Ms. Ng writes an excellent essay with personal stories, statistics and examples of the danger posed to the consumer.

Some of the highlights of Ms. Ng’s story include:

• The estimate from the US-based Centre for Medicine in the Public Interest shows global sales of counterfeit drugs almost doubling in the past five years.

• The World Health Organisation also believes that in some developing regions, more than 30 per cent of medications sold are fake. Online retailing has only made it worse: As much as half of what is offered online could be fake.

• Interpol secretary-general Ronald Noble has described this trade as more deadly than terrorism. While 65,000 people have died in the past 40 years as a result of terrorism, fake medicine has killed 200,000 people in China in one year alone, he said at a recent conference on anti-counterfeiting in Africa.

The world's second largest economy [China] is also one of the main sources - possibly the biggest - of counterfeit drugs.

A significant share of the revenue from the global sale of fake drugs is pocketed by Chinese manufacturers, who are becoming increasingly savvy in exploiting online sales and technology to grow their business.

Chinese counterfeiting syndicates used to make most of their money from sales in Africa, inundating countries like Nigeria with fake anti-malarial drugs that were labeled 'Made in India'.

• Investigations have also revealed the technological savviness and sophistication of Chinese manufacturers. Not only do they have the laser printers and chemical labs to churn out perfect replicas of genuine drug packaging, down to the holograms, but they are also using major websites to market their wares aggressively.

As this outstanding article points out, China has become the epicenter of bogus medications and the threat to consumers’ world wide continues to grow.

Consumers around the globe must be made aware of the very real threat to their health and well being while members of the pharmaceutical supply chains must take proactive efforts to protect their brands and inventories.

To view the entire Straits Times story, visit:

To learn about solutions used to combat counterfeit medications, visit:

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