You can’t turn on the television without seeing pharmaceutical advertisements offering to fix all that ails you. By marketing directly to the consumer, pharmaceuticals ensure that many drugs are asked for by name, a reality that makes these drugs very profitable. Because these pills are so profitable, those seeking a quick buck attempt to cash in illegally, placing everyone’s safety at risk.
Pharmaceutical fraud often takes the form of tampering and counterfeiting. Each year counterfeiting costs the pharmaceutical industry approximately $30 billion in losses, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Even with advances in technology that fight pharmaceutical fraud, criminals are still finding ways to profit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)reports that from 2009 to 2010 the rate of drug counterfeiting and tampering rose 11 percent.
The cost of pharmaceutical fraud isn’t just monetary, however. Pharmaceutical fraud also costs lives. An estimated 15 percent of all medicines sold globally are fake. The U.S. Center for Medicine in the Public Interest reports that these fake and therefore unsafe prescription drugs claim the lives of nearly 700,000 people annually.
You should never assume that the medications that you take are safe; instead, take steps to protect yourself. Always be aware of where your medicines are coming from and don’t take for granted that distributors on the Internet are selling you safe pills. Finally, always check your medication bottles for tampering – is the seal intact?
Sadly, pharmaceuticals do not need to be fake, counterfeit or subject to other types of fraud in order to be dangerous. If you or a loved one is injured or made ill after taking a prescription or over-the-counter drug, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about seeking just compensation.