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Canada and the US Wage War Against Counterfeit Meds

17 FEB 2014
Career Path : Healthcare

This week, the AAPS blog looks at how Canadian and American authorities are responding to the growing problem of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. The drugs are making their way into the hands of consumers via illegal internet pharmacies. With the rising cost of drugs, not all of which are covered by health care, patients are lured to internet options by their promise of substantially lower prices. The blog post, Canada and the US Wage War Against Counterfeit Meds, explains that:

Unfortunately, many of those presumably legitimate online options turn out to be anything but – and patients end up endangering their lives with subpar products, or in some cases illegal substances.  In North America, the most commonly counterfeited drugs are those intended for the treatment of cancer and depression; therapies that undergo years of pharmaceutical quality assurance in order to garner consumer faith – a trust that is abused by counterfeiters, and results in potentially lethal consequences.

Every year, thousands of adverse side-effects and in some cases, deaths result from the consumption of presumed trustworthy pharmaceuticals.  According to the World Health Organization, 10% of all meds sold worldwide are fakes.  Last year in Canada, officials seized over 9,895,926 million potentially dangerous medicines worth over $41 million USD. The culprits were players in complex webs of organized crime that spanned over 100 countries. Although Canada has cracked down on illegal pharmacies, authorities admit that their recent bust is really only the tip of the iceberg. They caution consumers to be wary of “deals” offered on high-market drugs, warning that in addition to risking their health, they may also expose themselves to identity theft, computer viruses and credit card fraud.