by Fiona Clark
The Lancet, Volume 386, No. 10001, pp. 1327–1328, 3 October 2015
Increasing public use of online pharmacies, along with a new mass producer of fake medicines, have widened the global market for falsified drugs. Most of the products are not poisonous. They either contain little or no active ingredient and the effects can be devastating but can easily go unnoticed. In the past 2 years, WHO has been running a global surveillance system in which roughly 800 cases have so far been reported. One of WHO’s priorities is to make reporting systems easier for medical professionals, so it can get a better handle on the exact extent of the problem. Armed with better information, the agency will be able to push for strengthening health systems and regulatory oversight for what is undoubtedly a profitable industry with very high returns on investment.