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October 13, 2009

Officials Make a Call to Action Against Fake HIV Drugs

Two African presidents—Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin and Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso—were among the dignitaries at a meeting in Cotonou, Benin, making an international call to action against counterfeit medications, Time reports.

According to the article, the larger goals are to raise awareness of the problem, to establish tougher regulations and to develop support for an international convention on counterfeit drugs. Jacques Chirac, the former president of France, is leading this effort.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than half of all drugs sold on the Internet have been altered. The WHO also estimates that up to 30 percent of drugs sold in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America are counterfeit.

Major pharmaceutical companies are combating the problem. Pfizer is experimenting with safer packaging. Merck is funding minilabs in developing countries to help it detect fake ingredients in HIV, malaria and tuberculosis drugs.

Search: Benin, Burkina Faso, Pfizer, Merck, World Health Organization, WHO

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