Health fears grow as fake drugs flood into Britain
Counterfeiting gangs based in China are producing sophisticated copies of the world's bestselling pharmaceuticals. In 2008 an estimated 8m of these potentially deadly pills found their way to NHS patients. The health of millions of people is at risk.
They were made in China, labelled in French and then shipped to Singapore. They ended up in Liverpool and from there were sold straight into the heart of the NHS. As the criminal investigation continues into how a fake consignment of Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic treatment prescribed for schizophrenia, infiltrated Britain's healthcare system last year, evidence is mounting that sophisticated counterfeiting syndicates are increasingly targeting Britain's network of high-street chemists, hospitals and GP surgeries.
Figures collated for the first time reveal that British border officials seized more than half a million counterfeit pills destined for the NHS and high-street chemists last year, an amount equal to the quantity of counterfeit drugs found in the whole of Europe in 2005. So vast is the scale of the threat from fake medicines that public confidence in the NHS could be "completely undermined", according to legal experts. Health officials also warn that the health of millions of Britons is potentially at risk.
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