Counterfeit: Victimless crime? (2) – pharmaceuticals

We mentioned it in an earlier post: counterfeit is sometimes referred to as a “victimless crime”. But is it really without victims? No. Absolutely not!  Today we want to point out the dangers of counterfeit pharmaceuticals.




Some facts and figures:

  • 10% of all medicines world wide are fake;
  • Well over 50% of all medicines in third world countries are fake;
  • In 2007 over 4.4 million counterfeit medicines have been seized by European customs;
  • Fake medicines include even medicines against HIV and cancer.

You will be amazed how much damage counterfeit pharmaceuticals can cause:

  • 1992, Bangladesh – 233 children die of medicines diluted with anti-freeze;
  • 1995, Nigeria – 2500 people die of fake spotted fever medicine;
  • 1996, US – 66 people die of counterfeit antibiotics;
  • 2001, Vietnam and Southeast Asia – 38% of all anti-malaria pills do not contain any active ingredient;
  • 2001, China – over 100.000 deaths caused by fake medicines;
  • 2002, Nigeria – 60% of all pharmaceutical preparations are fake, substandard of expired;

So what makes counterfeit medicines “fake”?

  • No actieve ingredient;
  • Insufficient actieve ingredient;
  • Too much actieve ingredient;
  • Different actieve ingredient;
  • Toxic components.

Counterfeit medicines is a growing trend. With online pharmacies and a large number of people buying their medicines (not only Viagra) over the internet, the danger is even bigger than ever. So beware! Just visit your local pharmacy if you need something. There is something to say for a (wo)man in a long, white coat.

© copyright photo by -RobW- @ Flickr


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Erwin Hauër

“Hoop is geen strategie.”



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