Along with the international trades in narcotics, armaments and looted antiquities, trafficking in counterfeit drugs is one of the most lucrative. Counterfeit medical products are a major public-health risk for all communities and the trade has grown in recent years as counterfeiting methods have become more sophisticated and the amount of merchandise crossing borders has increased. Speaking on an Australian Broadcasting Corp. program in February 2006, writer Robert Cockburn estimated that around 10 percent of the world's medicine supply was fake and that the trade was then worth over US$30 billion a year.

By Philip Courtenay
20 March 2008

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