Real Clear Health: Counterfeits Kill: Stronger Law Enforcement Needed

When one thinks of counterfeit goods, it can conjure up images of customers being duped into buying inferior quality designer bags or other fashion knockoffs.  However, when it comes to the manufacturing, distribution and sale of counterfeit medications, the outcomes can be much more serious and life threatening.

Most consumers probably don’t realize that counterfeit medications have become a big and growing problem in the U.S.  In recent years, cancer patients have received counterfeits that contained salt and starch with no active ingredient.  In one instance, a counterfeit drug was discovered after a liver transplant patient had not responded to eight weeks of treatment.  Counterfeit medications were also found that produced harmful interactions with patient medications.  In another case, Chinese-sourced ingredients for a blood thinner were suspected to have resulted in as many as 81 deaths.  There are endless examples of harmful counterfeit medications reaching patients, from heart, antibiotic, hair loss and arthritis medications to those for Parkinson’s and HIV-AIDS to injectable treatments such as Botox.  The implications are clear – counterfeits can kill and increased law enforcement is necessary to protect the public.

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