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Global Public Health the Focus of Scientific Conference
Date:9/28/2009

d counterfeiting can be economically compelling - the profit margin on fake Viagra was estimated to be 2,000 times that for cocaine, which attracts both organized crime and opportunistic criminals.

Many people believe that buying prescription drugs from online pharmacies calling themselves "Canadian" is safer, but it is in fact risky business; the search term "Canadian pharmacy" is one of the world's biggest spam generators. There are more than 11,000 such sites, and of these only about 214 are actually registered in Canada. Presentations demonstrating the counterfeiters' complete disregard for human health included pictures of a cement mixer in Turkey that had also been used to mix counterfeit versions of drugs - e.g., Viagra®, Plavix®, and other widely prescribed medications - without having been cleaned. In a study of about 100 online "pharmacies" conducted by the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, 98% had no pharmacist associated with them; 90% required no prescription for prescription medications; 95.5% were not registered with any official pharmacy board; and while one in five boasted an "official" seal of approval, 85% of those seals were fake.

"As supply chains for drugs and foods have become increasingly global,'' said Roger L. Williams, M.D., USP's chief executive officer, ''it has become more urgent for experts from around the world to pool their best thinking on how to protect people in all countries. I've been impressed and gratified by the level of discourse that has taken place at this year's ASM. As we all go home to our respective countries and responsibilities, it will be very interesting to see the many ideas articulated this week play out into programs and policies over time."

Videos of some of the speakers at the ASM are on www.youtube.com/uspharma
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