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Dangerous counterfeit cancer drugs are increasingly common

Survivors have noted repeatedly that there may be nothing worse one can endure with regards to personal health than being told that you have cancer. Cancer is an incredibly complicated foe that often requires you to destroy the healthy cells in your body in order to attack those that are unhealthy.

Thankfully, advances in cancer medication are helping more and more Americans wear the badge of survivorship. Unfortunately, far too many of these potentially lifesaving pharmaceuticals are being sold in counterfeit form. Given the fact that counterfeits are not regulated, they are potentially tainted, defective and dangerous medication.

Many Americans first became aware of the proliferation of counterfeit cancer drugs when fake versions of the mega-drug Avastin were discovered in the American marketplace's supply. However, the problem has grown rather than shrunk since the Avastin discovery. Five years ago, cancer drugs were not listed as among the top ten pharmaceutical products most targeted by counterfeiters as tracked by the Pharmaceutical Security Institute. Their rank is now likely within the top seven.

Cancer drugs are expensive to purchase, so counterfeiters are increasingly attempting to take advantage of their potential profit power. In addition, many counterfeit versions of these drugs are manufactured in overseas locations with weak counterfeit controls. The problem is likely to become worse before it gets better through crackdowns domestically and internationally.

If an American patient is harmed due to a defective or otherwise dangerous counterfeit drug, legal recourse is likely available. However, it is in the interest of all Americans that counterfeit cancer drugs are never given the chance to harm any U.S. residents in the first place.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Counterfeit Cancer Medicines Multiply," Jeanne Whalen and Benoit Faucon, Dec. 31, 2012

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