More than two dozen of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies have agreed to provide funding and other support to Interpol's battle against counterfeit prescription drugs, the international police agency said Tuesday.
Interpol's newly created Pharmaceutical Crime Program aims to help health agencies, police and customs bureaus in countries around the world stem the supply of bogus brand-name and generic medicines, as well as identify and dismantle the organized crime rings distributing them.
Those rings, which operate across borders, are raking in billions of dollars every year, costing legitimate drugmakers a small fortune in lost sales. Meanwhile patients who unknowingly take counterfeit drugs often are poisoned or get sicker because they're not receiving what doctors prescribed. Experts estimate hundreds of thousands of people around the world die because of counterfeit medicines each year.