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30 Aug 2010

Top Counterfeit Drugs Report

Drug counterfeiting has become a $200-billion business annually, according to the World Customs Organization. By some calculations, the counterfeiting trade has become more lucrative than the narcotics business. It's a global problem. And experts say that solving it--or at least stemming the tide--requires the participation of both government and industry.

Top counterfeit drug types

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The Pharmaceutical Security Institute is one example of a stakeholder collaboration that's fighting fake drugs. PSI chief executive Thomas Kubic says in a phone interview that he counts 2,003 incidents involving 808 different drug products that were counterfeited, illegally diverted or stolen last year. That's a worldwide total, and it includes branded, generic and over-the-counter drugs.

Chart courtesy of PSI

Counterfeiters will manufacture a product to resemble any type of drug. Medications for chronic conditions are most popular, from hypertensive drugs to diabetes medicines.

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