I totally agree with the article by kmlybecker below. The seizure of illegal counterfeit pharmaceuticals by U.S. Customs increased 660% from 2006 to 2007. According to these same authorities, 80% of the counterfeit drugs originates in China with the rest mostly coming from Pakistan, Egypt, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Half of all internet drug sales are counterfeit where the internet “pharmacy’s” address is not identified.
Last week it was reported in Geneva that 41% of the drugs being distributed and administered in Nigeria are counterfeit - over half of which are unsafe, according to WHO. So for every person that benefits from medicine in that country, another person is being placed at extreme risk – all in the name of greed.
Counterfeiting is cheaper than, yet just as profitable as, the illegal narcotics trade – with far lesser penalties! For internet pharmacy customers in developed countries, buyer beware. For poor people in developing countries who are unwittingly administered counterefit drugs, those behind such enterprises are guilty of assault if not murder.
The World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and World Trade Organization need to use whatever levers of persuasion they may have to motivate non-compliant countries to institute and enforce rigorous intellectual property protection laws and stamp out counterfeiting before the effects from unsafe drugs becomes a global epidemic. If the countries that harbour pharamaceutical counterfeiters wish to play in the international arena then they should be held accountable on this issue and forced to put patient safety before ill-gotten profits.