Fake and ineffective drugs flood the global market and millions of people are suffering because of this.

This startling fact comes from the World Health Organization (WHO) that recently called the proliferation of fake drugs a “silent epidemic” that affects people from all walks of ...Fake and ineffective drugs flood the global market and millions of people are suffering because of this.

This startling fact comes from the World Health Organization (WHO) that recently called the proliferation of fake drugs a “silent epidemic” that affects people from all walks of life.

“The counterfeiting of medicines is present in all countries and is thought to represent 10 percent of the global medicines trade. Particularly insidious, counterfeit medicines dupe sick people into believing they are taking something which will make them well, when it may instead make them sicker or even kill them,” WHO said.

“Counterfeit medicines are part of the broader phenomenon of substandard pharmaceuticals. The difference is that they are deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity and/or source. These products mostly have no therapeutic benefit; they can cause drug resistance and death,” WHO added.

The “business” of fake drugs is quite lucrative. In the United States alone, counterfeit drug sales are expected to reach $75 billion in 2010, a 92 percent increase from 2005, according to the Center for Medicines in the Public Interest.

Countries with weak drug regulation and control are the usual targets of promoters of fake or substandard medicines. Dr. Enrique Fefer of the Pan American Health Organization in Latin America and the Caribbean said this allows ineffective products to be marketed or promoted for non-approved uses. This can also occur in countries where local facilities don’t always comply with accepted quality control standards, health professionals have limited access to objective health information, and untrained pharmacists tell consumers what drugs to buy.

“In Iran, misuse of pharmaceuticals means that about $100 million a year is wasted. Massive misuse of drugs is the inevitable result of a market littered with products which are ineffective, inappropriate, irrational, useless or needlessly expensive,” said Andrew Chetley of Health Action International in Amsterdam in “Problem Drugs.”

"People don’t die from carrying a fake handbag or wearing a fake t-shirt. They can die from taking a counterfeit medicine,” added Dr. Howard Zucker, assistant director general for Health Technology and Pharmaceuticals at WHO. “International police action against the factories and distribution networks should be as uncompromising as that applied to the pursuit of narcotic smuggling.”

Chetley said fake or substandard drugs usually fall into the following categories:

● Dangerous products that are freely available – products which have been severely restricted or withdrawn completely in countries with strong regulatory authorities.

● Ineffective products – preparations which contain ingredients that don’t do what they claim.

● Inappropriate products – drugs which are unnecessary or not useful.

Obesity is another big market for fake drugs as health-conscious individuals will do anything to lose weight. To protect yourself from fake drugs, buy only from reputable dealers or manufacturers. One popular product that stands out is Phenocal – a safe and natural weight loss supplement that will boost your metabolism, suppress your appetite, increase energy levels, and help you lose unwanted pounds. For details, visit http://tinyurl.com/8jkw6ma

Author's Bio: 

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine www.thearticleinsiders.com.