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Counterfeit drugs

Around 35% of the medication sold in the Middle East is fake, compared to just 1% in the US. Kipp examines the threat posed by this $75 billion global trade, and what regional policymakers are doing about it.

March 15, 2010 7:50 by

‘Potentially life-threatening’

Interpol reported in May last year that Egyptian authorities had seized hundreds of millions of dollars worth of “potentially life-threatening counterfeit medicines”

According to the report, Egyptian police, customs and private investigators joined forces with members of the World Health Organization’s IMPACT task force.  Six sting operations in April and May of last year led to the seizure of 10 illegal containers, each holding hundreds of thousands of counterfeit medicines bound for the Middle East.  In addition to three containers confiscated in the Suez Canal, authorities seized over 3,000 bottles of counterfeit pharmaceuticals at Cairo’s international airport.

The seizure included ‘lifestyle products,’ as well as a variety of maintenance medications intended for organ-transplant patients and those with serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy and mental illnesses.


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