A resistant strain of bacteria –created by partially effective counterfeit antibiotics – doesn’t need a VISA and passport to get to the U.S.
– Paul Orhii, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Nigeria
I attended a conference in DC yesterday called, “The Global Impact of Fake Medicine.” Although I had initially wondered if homeopathy and the supplement industry would be the subjects of discussion, I quickly realized that there was another world of medical fraud that I hadn’t previously considered: counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
Just as designer goods have low-cost knock-offs, so too do pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Unfortunately, counterfeit medical products are a higher risk proposition – perhaps causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year.
It is difficult to quantify the international morbidity and mortality toll of counterfeit drugs – there have been no comprehensive global studies to determine the prevalence and collateral damage of the problem. But I found these data points of interest (they were in the slide decks presented at the conference):