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Fake medicine trade booming

AFP · 16 Feb 2010, 08:59

Published: 16 Feb 2010 08:59 GMT+01:00

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The market in counterfeit medicines in Europe is worth an estimated €10.5 billion a year, the research commissioned by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer out Tuesday.

One in five of those questioned for the research admitted buying prescription-only medicines without a prescription, with people in Germany (38 percent) and Italy (37 percent) the worst offenders.

Italians and Germans are also thought to have spent the most on fake prescription-only medicines – an estimated €3.6 billion and €2.7 billion respectively.

The most popular kinds of medicines to buy are those related to weight loss (45 percent), flu (35 percent) and erectile dysfunction (25 percent), the research found.

It comes amid growing concern over the issue among officials who say fake medicines are often unsafe, inefficient or of poor quality.

In December, European industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen said the European Union had seized 34 million fake tablets in just two months, a figure which "exceeded our worst fears."

An EU report from July last year claimed that many of the fake pharmaceuticals seized in 2008 came from India.

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But the World Health Organisation says it is hard to calculate the extent of counterfeiting of medicines.

Research consultancy Nunwood questioned 14,000 people in 14 European countries online in November for the Pfizer research. The €10.5 billion figure was calculated based on the number of people buying prescription-only medication without a prescription, multiplied by the average annual spend per purchaser.

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Your comments about this article

16:08 February 16, 2010 by tollermann
Oh yeah, so much for Europeans following the rule of law!
16:57 February 16, 2010 by dcgi
Well it's pretty simple, just make sure the one's you get are a slightly lighter blue in colour ;)
17:28 February 16, 2010 by mixxim
If it makes them feel better.....
18:49 February 16, 2010 by Talonx
Tollermann's right, we should all just move to the States where people can get all the drugs they want (sarcasm, multiple levels).
21:23 February 16, 2010 by Johnny Cash
10,5 Billion a year!!!!!!! for the counterfeit stuff. So how much are the drug companies making? May I suggest Dr Mercola.com where you can find out how to keep yourself healthy so you won't fall into the hands of these money hungry lying drug companies
23:38 February 16, 2010 by Fredfeldman
No wonder the new noises about cracking down on german drug prices. Seems the giants are starting to panic about the competition both real and fake.
00:02 February 17, 2010 by Talonx
Johnny, Mercola.com is one of those that 'thinks' (because there is no proof in humans or any animal for normal amounts administered) that vaccines kill and cause disease. Maybe try advocating critical thinking, overall critical thinking works best, though there isn't some hand websight were you can easily consume it, so maybe that's a problem for you.
13:29 February 17, 2010 by tollermann
Another fine post by Talonx,

"Tollermann's right, we should all just move to the States where people can get all the drugs they want (sarcasm, multiple levels)."

No, I think we should all move to the Netherlands (my country of origin) so we can all use drugs recreationally, it doesn't matter, does it?
15:16 February 17, 2010 by Talonx
Just go to any streetcorner in any big city in the U.S. legal or not, heroine and other drugs are much more abundant in the U.S.

As for recreational drug use, you can hit up any old tavern for a fix any day of the week (except sunday in some places, but than you can just go to catholic church and drink on some alcoholic Jesus blood, what a partier).
18:22 February 17, 2010 by tollermann

did you also know that almost 60% of those in American Jail are illegals? Since I do not do illegal drugs and have no desire I will forget all the drunks and druggies I saw at the HPT Bahnhof in Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, Berlin, Leipzig, etc...
21:06 February 17, 2010 by derExDeutsche
I like it here in Costa Rica where I can buy ANY drug over the counter.

For example, I got a kidney infection in while in the Jungle. Got diagnosed on webmd. Went to the pharmacy, bought Cipro without a prescrip and some Klonopin for the long bus ride home. Nice ride, and no more kidney infection, all for around $25.. talk about affordable health care!
21:45 February 17, 2010 by Talonx
Tollermann, I don't know what illegal immigration has to do with anything anybody here has been talking about. Regardless, fact (http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR-2006.html) the drug problem is bigger in the states than in any European nation (excluding the UK). So you can quite comfortably forget about the 'druggies' and 'drunks' you saw at any of those stations, partially because nobody is interested in your subject experience and mostly because those people constitute less than half the number of the same folk in the U.S. (per capita corrected, without this correction the numbers actually look much worse for the U.S.).
15:34 February 18, 2010 by tollermann
Sorry TALONX you don't decide what gets posted on this board. The mention of immigration is directly linked to illegal drug abuse in the US. A fact 90%+ violent crime in the US is drug realated hence the mention about prisons. But, since you think you are an expert on just about everything except for the belief in taking personal responsibility, I'll leave it at that.
22:11 February 18, 2010 by Talonx
Well if only people like you wouldn't immigrate to the states, then there wouldn't be any drug provblems. You're an immigrant as well are you not?

Regardless, you should specify your claim a bit further. It sounds like you're saying that immigrants are responsible for drug abuse and thus most of the violent crime in the U.S. That's just not true, if that is the claim you are attempting to make. If you disagree the onus is on you, you having made the claim, to support your claim with peer reviewed evidence (as I did to support my claim).

Regardless, you're way off base. My argument was simply that all drug problems are worse in the U.S. You couldn't argue against that so you made up something else to argue about. Seems like you're just being provocative for provocative's sake.
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