June 28, 2016
How Both Presidential Candidates Could Shorten Your Life
“These falsifiers are in fact murderers—they are causing death.”
That quote, cited in Newsweek last September, comes from Jim Herrington, executive director of the Gillings Global Gateway at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health.
He’s referring to the vast network of criminals who manufacturer and/or traffic in fake, counterfeit and compromised drugs. And that network is growing rapidly. The article says that officials from Interpol, the international police organization, seized 20.7 million fake or illicit pills and other medications in 2015—a nearly 10-fold increase from four years earlier.
What does the explosion of fake drugs have to do with the presidential candidates? Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump want to open the fake floodgates by legalizing the importation of prescription drugs from other countries.
Most importation advocates have no idea what they would be exposing Americans to, or else they wouldn’t support it. They claim they would just be allowing Americans to buy the same prescription drugs from a foreign source that they could buy from their neighborhood pharmacy.
So the first question to ask them is how exactly they know that? Because the pills look the same to their untrained eye as the ones people are buying in the U.S.? Because the vendor has a picture of a waving Canadian flag on its website? Because a friend ordered something from a foreign site and didn’t have any adverse reactions?
The criminals and terrorists—yes, terrorists have been linked to fake drugs—have several ways to make money from fake and counterfeit drugs.
- They can make a pill that looks like the drug but with no active ingredients—or in some cases with poisonous ingredients—in it.
- Or they can put expired or discarded drugs in a bottle with a later date.
- Or they can take a less-expensive, lower dose-version and put it in a bottle that claims to be a higher dose.
- Or they can ignore storage requirements, such as refrigeration for biologics.
- Or the medicine may be exactly what its vendor claims.
The point is, you don’t know. And you probably shouldn’t trust criminals and terrorists to do the right thing.
The Food and Drug Administration and other law enforcement agents try to identify these criminals and crack down on them. But it’s difficult, especially when a government such as China puts up roadblocks.
But if drug imports are legalized, the number of vendors would explode, making it virtually impossible to identify and capture these potential “murderers.”
And if our politicians demand that change, knowing the possible threats, don’t they also share some culpability?