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Counterfeit Internet drugs pose significant risks and discourage vital health checks
Date:1/20/2010

nclude fake contraceptive and antimalaria pills, counterfeit antibiotics and a vaccine for life-threatening meningitis that only contained water.

The US-based Center for Medicine in the Public Interest estimates that the global sale of counterfeit drugs will reach $75 billion in 2010, a 92 per cent increase in five years.

Counterfeit seizures in the European Union (EU) quadrupled between 2005 and 2007 and the number of drug fraud investigations carried out by the US Food and Drug Administration rose 800 per cent between 2000 and 2006.

ED drugs are the most commonly counterfeited product seized in the EU due to their high cost and the embarrassment associated with the underlying condition. Some estimates suggest that as many as 2.5 million men in the EU are using counterfeit Viagra.

Analysis of counterfeit ED drugs has shown that some contain active ingredients, while others contain potentially hazardous contaminants.

Pfizer, which manufactures Viagra, analysed 2,383 suspected counterfeit samples forwarded to the company by law enforcement agencies between 2005 and 2009. It found that that a Hungarian sample contained amphetamine, a UK sample contained caffeine and bulk lactose and that printer ink had been used to colour some samples blue. Other samples contained metronidazole, which can have significant adverse effects when combined with alcohol."

And a study of 370 seized "Viagra" samples carried out by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health found that only 10 were genuine, with a range of other drugs present in the samples.

"As well as the risk posed by unknown ingredients, internet drugs circumvent traditional healthcare and this poses its own risks as underlying health conditions could go undiagnosed if people don't seek medical advice" says Dr Jackson.

The World Health Organization states that counterfeit medicines are a threat to communities and must be stopped and there i
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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