Mortality Rate Caused by Fake Drugs

 By: Peter Anderson
At best, intake of fake drugs cannot cure any illness. At worst, it can take a life.

Around the world, drug counterfeiting is a huge problem. Despite the insistence of World Health Organization (WHO) that drug counterfeiting is not a global issue because it only takes 1% of the total pharmaceutical industry in developed countries, deaths traced to substandard drugs bought either through fraudulent dealers or fake online pharmacies are continuously increasing in the United States - suppliers of which comes from Canada and the United Kingdom.

In truth, the real scale of counterfeit medicines is still unknown. There is no existing proof that this issue is not a global concern nor are there any warning signs that it has caused mass killings in a certain locality. The statistics have been vague and are altered in every different review. There are cases when it is held accountable for deaths when it shouldn’t be and there are also other cases where the bereaved families are unaware that it is the real culprit. There is no way to determine its accountability.

One thing is for sure though: While the authorities are finding a way to determine its true nature, drug counterfeiting has become a lucrative business in the past couple of years. True, it is impossible to know the exact numbers behinds its trade and lethal impact. Some guesses are to as high as 700,000 deaths per year but there is no denying the fact that it can endanger human health and wellbeing. It is even labeled as silent terrorism since it can pounce while people are mostly unaware.

In a review conducted by The Peterson Group, a non-profit organization and one of the leading sources of information on the proliferation of counterfeit medicines, more than 30% of the total drug market is suspect of being counterfeit. Based on the current statistics, it is not only developing nations being targeted as well.

Between 2007 and 2008, 149 Americans were killed after taking heparin, a blood thinning drug. In Jakarta, Indonesia, Tamiflu, an immediate cure for simple fever killed 25 people in the town of Menteng in a span of one and a half years. An epidemic was thought to have caused the deaths but after a man was arrested for smuggling fake copies of the medicine, only then did the authorities examined the remaining Tamiflu medicines from the local pharmacies and proved it to be counterfeit. Besides, if a relative who has heart problem dies because of heart attack, who would blame the medicine?
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