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Counterfeit Drugs Risk Lives, Threaten Pharmaceutical Industry In India

BBC News examines how counterfeit or substandard medicines are threatening India’s fast-growing pharmaceutical industry, writing, “Worth over $12 billion, the industry is expected to grow more than four-fold in the coming decade,” but fake drugs in the system are risking both the lives of patients and the reputation of drug makers. While the scale of the problem in India is unknown, “[c]ounterfeit drugs are a $200 billion industry worldwide,” and “[w]ith manufacturing costs nearly 40 percent cheaper than other countries, the authorities are worried India could become an easy target for counterfeiters,” the news service reports. According to BBC, the Indian government “has launched a campaign against counterfeit medicines,” and a “committee set up by the Indian Ministry of Health has approved a proposal to put [two-dimensional] barcodes and scratch-off labels on medicines” that will allow users to use mobile technology to quickly confirm whether a medication is real (Kannan, 10/11).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.