The World Health Organization estimates that between 100,000 and 1,000,000 people die each year due to counterfeit drugs. The World Health Organization estimated in 2012 that the worldwide counterfeit drug trade was worth $431 billion per year, and is growing. In 2006, the World Health Organization estimated that up to one-half of the unlicensed online pharmacy retailers sold counterfeit drugs. Between 2010 and 2014, 57,000 illegal online pharmacies were suspended, 1,400 suspects were arrested, and 30.3 million units of illicit drugs were seized.
In Pakistan, between 45% and 50% of the drugs sold are either counterfeit or substandard. While Pakistan has about 4,000 legal pharmacies, it is estimated that over 100,000 merchants dispense drugs illegally.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Control, Pakistan was one of the ten largest sources of counterfeit goods seized in the United States in 2011 – 85% of the seized goods were drugs. After Pakistan created its Drug Regulatory Authority in 2012 , Pakistan dropped out of the top ten countries that are the major sources of counterfeit goods entering the United States (its ranking was 24th in 2014) – India and China are the top sources for counterfeit drugs in the world.
Some of the ingredients found in counterfeit drugs coming from Pakistan include paint, brisk dust, and rat poison. In one incident in 2012, 120 Pakistani cardiac patients died due to the ingredients in counterfeit heart medicine that they were provided.
Counterfeit Drugs Entering The United States
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (“NABP”) reported in 2014 that its sampling of more than 11,000 Internet pharmacies found that 96% of them failed to comply with patient safety and pharmacy practice standards set by the NABP or to comply with state and federal laws.
U.S. Efforts To Combat Counterfeit Drugs
President Obama signed into law The Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) on November 27, 2013, which outlines critical steps to build an electronic, interoperable system to identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed in the United States. The DQSA requires the FDA to develop standards, guidance documents, and pilot programs and to conduct public meetings as well as other efforts necessary to support efficient and effective implementation of the system that will enhance the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ability to help protect consumers from exposure to drugs that may be counterfeit, stolen, contaminated, or otherwise harmful. The system, which will be phased in with new requirements over a 10-year period (including the requirement of providing product and transaction information at each sale with lot level information, in paper or electronic format, and placing unique product identifiers on individual drug packages), will improve detection and removal of potentially dangerous drugs from the drug supply chain in order to protect U.S. consumers. Failure to comply with the requirements of the law can result in penalties.
If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) due to a prescription drug error, a dispensing error, a dosing error, a counterfeit drug, or a bad drug, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local drug claim attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your drug claim for you and represent you in a drug claim case, if appropriate.
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