WHO launches taskforce to fight counterfeit drugs.
The International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) aims to put a stop to the deadly trade in fake drugs, which studies suggest kill thousands of people every year. "We need to help people become more aware of the growing market in counterfeit medicines and the public health risks associated with this illegal practice," said Dr Howard Zucker, Assistant Director-General for the Health Technology and Pharmaceuticals cluster of departments at WHO. The taskforce will encourage the public, distributors, pharmacists and hospital staff to inform the authorities about their suspicions regarding the authenticity of a drug or vaccine. In a parallel move, the taskforce will help governments crack down on corruption in the sections of their police forces and customs authorities charged with enforcing laws against drug counterfeiting. Drug manufacturers will be encouraged to make their products more difficult to fake. (excerpt)