Counterfeit prescription drugs sales soared to $75 billion last year with many fakes ending up in the medicine cabinet

Photo from WKYC

POSTED: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 10:00am

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 10:04am

Are you one of the millions who look to buy cheaper medications from online pharmacies?

Chances are good that unless that online pharmacy is verified, you are not only getting ripped off, but you may also be putting your health at risk.

Fueled by easy Internet access, world supply routes and little prosecution, sales of counterfeit prescription drugs have exploded.

It is estimated $75 billion worth of counterfeit drugs were unknowingly purchased last year.

In one well-documented case, a counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin was widely distributed in the U.S. last year.

Used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain, the fake Avastin did not contain any of the active ingredient.

And earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned doctors that a fake version of another drug, Altuzan was being distributed in the United States.

In this case, the fake also contained no active ingredient.

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