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Money Minute: Beware of bogus drugs [Video]

April 05, 2012|By David Lazarus

As if there wasn't enough to worry about on the healthcare front, now comes yet another report of counterfeit prescription drugs being found.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning doctors and hospitals that, for the second time this year, it's come across a batch of bogus Avastin, a drug used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain.

This obviously has enormous ramifications for patients. At best, they could take a medicine that has no effect. At worst, they could experience even more medical trouble.

It's a growing problem. More than 1,700 incidents of fake drugs being found were reported last year. In many cases, such drugs reach the market through barely regulated online pharmacies.

What's to be done? First, there needs to be better global tracking of drugs and the ingredients that go into drugs. As it stands, supply chains are now so international and so complex, it can be difficult even for the manufacturer to know where everything came from.

Second, countries worldwide need to clamp down on online pharmacies. Many are perfectly reputable and legitimate. But many others are not, peddling all manner of problems to unsuspecting people everywhere.

Will this solve the world's healthcare issues? No. Will it probably save lives? Yes.

And that's reason enough to act.

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