When counterfeiting kills people

A Chinese lab used to make fakes.

Some say it doesn't matter if consumers buy fake designer handbags or shoes or clothes. After all, aren't the real products made in China anyway, just like the originals? And if the person buying the fake, and all their friends, can't easily tell it's fake, then what difference does it make?

But that argument falls apart when the fakes are counterfeit medicine:
"Putting false active ingredients in fake drugs is just one trend in medicine counterfeiting. Bogus pills used to consist primarily of blanks because counterfeiters focused mostly on making the pills look like the originals. But these days, counterfeiters are increasingly adding all sorts of active ingredients to phony tablets. They slip mild pain relievers such as acetaminophen into pills just to make patients feel like they might be getting better, as was the case in fake Tamiflu seized from U.K. pharmacies in 2007. Sometimes, they add small amounts of the correct active ingredient to dupe testers who may not have equipment to accurately quantitate ingredient levels. More worrisome, some counterfeiters substitute life-threatening chemicals for the real McCoy, such as the antifreeze component diethylene glycol to replace glycerine. The toxic substitute ended up in cough medicines that killed hundreds in Nigeria, Panama, and Bangladesh in recent years."
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"Five men have been accused of orchestrating a multi-million pound fake medicine scam by importing counterfeit drugs for cancer, heart disease and schizophrenia from China to sell in the United Kingdom....

The prosecution alleges that the five imported fake versions of Zyprexa, a medicine used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; Casodex, a treatment for advanced prostate cancer; and Plavix, used to treat ischemic heart disease from a Chinese counterfeiter named Lu Xu."
- Fake Pharmaceuticals - Those fighting against counterfeit medicines face increasingly sophisticated adversaries, Chemical and Engineering News>>
- Central Science blog>> 
- Trial begins of five men accused in fake medicine scam, Irish Times>>

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