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Fake Pharmaceuticals


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Fake Pharmaceuticals, By Sarah Everts in Chemical & Engineering News, January 4, 2010, Volume 88, Number 1, pp. 27 - 29

Those fighting against counterfeit medicines face increasingly sophisticated adversaries. Of the chemicals he uncovered in various counterfeit malaria pills, Facundo M. Fernandez did not expect to find sildenafil, the active ingredient in the drug Viagra. He also didn’t expect to find the antibiotic erythromycin; one of the building blocks for making the street drug ecstasy; or metamizole, a powerful analgesic that is banned in the U.S. because it is suspected of causing serious bone marrow disorders. Yet the Georgia Institute of Technology chemist, who provides scientific support to international anticounterfeiting operations, has recently found all these chemicals and more in counterfeit malaria pills. “It’s shocking,” he says. “Sick children take these drugs. It’s terrible that they don’t receive the correct treatment. But worse, the chemicals in these counterfeits could make them sicker.”....

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