Fake Medicines in Poor Nations May Cause Tens of Thousands of Child Deaths a Year

About 11 percent of medicines in poor nations are fake and may cause the deaths of tens of thousands of children each year, the World Health Organization says.

Drugs for malaria and bacterial infections accounted for nearly 65 percent of counterfeit medicines, according to researchers who reviewed 100 studies on more than 48,000 medicines, the Associated Press reported.

The WHO said that each year, fake medicines may be responsible for the deaths of between 72,000 and 169,000 children from pneumonia and 116,000 deaths from malaria.

The WHO defines counterfeit medicines as those that have not been approved by regulators, don't meet quality standards or deliberately misrepresent an ingredient, the AP reported.

"Imagine a mother who gives up food or other basic needs to pay for her child's treatment, unaware that the medicines are substandard or falsified, and then that treatment causes her child to die," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. "This is unacceptable."

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