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30 November 2017Big Pharma

WHO lays bare deaths from counterfeit drugs

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a study on the public health impact of counterfeit drugs, showing that tens of thousands of children die as a result of the problem every year.

The 77-page document was released on Tuesday, November 28.

In total, 100 papers that had reported on testing of 48,218 samples of medicines collected from 88 countries were included in the report.

Nearly 12% of all antimalarial medicines tested were found to be counterfeit.

“Up to 72,430 childhood pneumonia deaths can be attributed to the use of substandard and falsified antibiotics if there is reduced antibiotic activity,” the report read.

“This increases up to 169,271 deaths if substandard and falsified antibiotics have no activity.”

The study also examined where reports of fake drugs originate from.

Overall, 40% of reports came from Africa, while the Americas and Europe both accounted for 21% each.

The International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines states on its website that according to expert estimates, fake drug trafficking now represents about 10% of the world market and has become the most lucrative source of financing for organised crime.

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