Dangerous World of Counterfeit Drugs

Why Counterfeit Drugs Are Made-
Perhaps the best way to describe the motivation behind counterfeiting is offered by Andrew Jackson, Head of Security for Novartis: "Pretend that you graduated from the ... more 
Why Counterfeit Drugs Are Made-
Perhaps the best way to describe the motivation behind counterfeiting is offered by Andrew Jackson, Head of Security for Novartis: "Pretend that you graduated from the 'University of Crime' and you are considering two career options. Which path you would follow? First, you can manufacture and sell cocaine, and if you get caught, you may spend 20 years or more in jail. Your second option is to manufacture and sell counterfeit pharmaceuticals. If you get caught, you'll be sentenced to prison for two years and may be back on the street in six months." less 
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Thu, Oct 6, 2011 3:09 PM EDT
By Paul Toscano, CNBC.com


The World of Counterfeit Drugs



Counterfeit prescription pharmaceuticals are widely recognized as a growing public health risk and a serious concern to public health officials, private companies, and consumers. This slideshow presents a shortened overview of the longer report, found here.



In some countries around the world, counterfeit prescription drugs comprise as much as 70% of the drug supply and have been responsible for thousands of deaths in some of the world's most impoverished nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, in most of the world's developed countries, effective regulatory systems and market controls cause an extremely low proportion of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, usually below 1%. But even patients in developed countries can still be affected by counterfeit drugs, and deaths linked to counterfeit drugs occur every year in the U.S. and Western Europe - and even more often in South America, Asia and Africa.



See the slideshow: Dangerous Costs of Counterfeit Drugs


The counterfeit pharmaceuticals industry is estimated to be a billion-dollar industry, and some have estimated it to be vastly larger. Peter Pitts, President of The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and former Food and Drug Administration Associate Commissioner, estimates that in 2010, activities related to counterfeit drugs generated $75 billion, and may grow by 20% annually in coming years. The $75 billion number is based on information obtained from government organizations, says Pitts. If this estimate is correct, the counterfeit pharmaceutical industry generates nearly as much cash as the world's fourth-largest health care company by revenues, AmerisourceBergen, with revenues of approximately $79 billion over the last 12 months.



In this CNBC.com special report, we look at the world of counterfeit pharmaceuticals - from where they're produced, to what is being done to combat them, to how they can hurt you.

See the full slideshow on the Dangers of Counterfeit Prescription Drugs.




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The Dangerous World of Counterfeit Drugs
America's Top Selling Prescription Drugs
Celebrities Who Abused Prescription Drugs