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It was a cringe-worthy moment for China when 600 000 counterfeit antimalarial tablets were intercepted by the Nigerian government in June. Produced and shipped from China, they bore an unexpected label: "Made in India." Even the fakes were being faked. It was a new low.
Many things are faked in China —from Gucci sunglasses to iPhones. Drugs are no exception. Medicine counterfeiters in China have the dubious honour of being among the worst offenders in the counterfeit drug trade. Often stuffed with chalk, flour or pollen, the pills are passed off as genuine medications. The drug counterfeiters are so skilled that even the holograms on the packages are copied and faked. It’s a trade that preys upon poorer countries, such as Nigeria, that lack the funds to set up strict regulation and the ability to purchase higher-quality drugs.