Global Fraud Focus
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Examining Cross-Border Issues
Counterfeit Drugs Kill! This is the title to a bulletin prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its creation, the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT). In February 2006, the WHO began IMPACT, comprised of all 193 WHO member states, to break down international barriers in the anti-counterfeiting drug traffic environment. The two groups describe fake drugs as those that "are deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity or source: their quality is unpredictable as they may contain the wrong amount of active ingredients, wrong ingredients or no active ingredients." Counterfeit drugs harm many unsuspecting victims. In some cases, they pay the ultimate price - their lives.
"We have seen that the threat from economically motivated adulteration, counterfeiting and cargo theft is real," said Margaret Hamburgh, M.D., commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, during the first Partnership for Safe Medicines Interchange on Oct. 8, 2010, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "And, unfortunately we know the results can be tragic. In Haiti, Panama and Nigeria, many children died due to cough syrup and teething medication poisoned with diethylene glycol." (Diethylene glycol is a colorless, sweet-tasting organic compound widely used as an industrial solvent.) These are not isolated incidents. Hamburgh spoke of others.